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Gangster: An impressive show

Good music had already given Gangster a headstart. The film lives up to the pre-release hype. Gangster not made on Salem: Mahesh Bhatt

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 18:20 IST

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Shiney Ahuja, Kangana, Gulshan Grover
Director:Anurag Basu
Rating: ***

The question everyone’s asking, first: Is Gangster based on Abu Salem’s life? Yes and no. Yes, because he is a gangster and she is a one-time club dancer (a minor variation there: Monica Bedi was a one-time starlet). No, because fiction- in this case at least- is stranger than the facts you’ve seen on the news channels.

Gangster, the latest from the Bhatt stable, is definitely one of the better Bollywood flicks this year. Don’t go by the title, it’s not a mafia movie. Although there is a dose of blood in the script, director Anurag Basu by and large takes the traditional love triangle route. It’s not ghisa pita stuff, though. Basu (who has also done the screenplay) laces enough twists in the plot to keep surprising you.

This is the story of Simran (Kangana), who lives in Seoul. An alcoholic loner, Simran’s only friend is Akash (Emran Hashmi), a singer at a local Indian restaurant. As their friendship metamorphoses to love, Simran’s past rears its head by way of ex-flame Daya (Shiney Ahuja), a dreaded gangster on the run. The triangle is set as Daya wants Simran back in his life, promising to mend his ways for her sake. Things get complicated when Simran discovers she’s pregnant with Akash’s child.

Predictable? It isn’t. Gangster works because the film keeps you guessing. Basu keeps the tension quotient high at all times, cunningly moving his script from one climax point to the other. This is definitely the director’s best work yet- better than 2004’s Murder.

If Murder gave Bollywood a star by way of Mallika Sherawat, Gangster should do the same for Kangana. As Simran, the debutant is perfect — she brings alive every complex nuance of her character with the ease of a seasoned actress.
Shiney Ahuja lives his role, finely underplaying the strong and silent Daya. Emraan Hashmi fans won’t be disappointed — he gets to kiss the heroine this time too.

Good music (Pritam) had already given Gangster a headstart. The film lives up to the pre-release hype.

First Published: Apr 29, 2006 18:20 IST