FAt Siri Fort auditorium in July, when director Anurag Kashyap mentioned that the making of Gangs of Wasseypur took away three years of his life, we could tell he meant it. There was much packed into the movie, in terms of detailing, acting, and cinematography and sound. The films fortunes may have been mixed, but the premiere certainly was a hit.
At the premiere was Kashyap accompanied by the eye-brow raising Huma Qureshi (lead heroine of the second part), Richa Chadha (the wife of Manoj Bajpai in the movie), Reema Sen, the major character ‘Definite’and the film’s writer Syed Zeishan Qadri. Kashyap brings to the fore his recently acquired celebrity status, and a remarkable elan. His films such as Dev D have made a new beginning on the celluloid. The two parts of ‘Wasseypur’ tell you the hard work that has gone into making the movie.
The film portrays various phases of Indian era: the time before and after Indian independence. Great amount of care has been taken for detailing the periods: coal-engine train, horse-driven carriages, black and white cinema, old telephone sets, retro petrol stations. Then arrive the new world gadgetry—pager, mobiles and more. The first part kept us all tied to our seats as Manoj Bajpai filled the silver screen with all the vigour that his character evokes. The second part, however, seemed to lose grip what with so much of violence and the presence of new faces.
Nawazuddin, the protagonist in the second part, did marvelously well on the acting front. Yet the want and the waiting associated with his earlier life in Mumbai seemed to get the better of him. He says: “I come from a small village from U.P.’s Muzaffarnagar district”. His family members (parents, two brothers and seven sisters) had to tread a few kilometres to watch the movie.
‘Wasseypur’ has been hyped up internationally. One point that popped up time and again in mind was: our country (Bihar and Jharkhand included) hasn’t yet fallen on such bad days. Any foreigner who watches this movie, I guess, would moan and writhe to say “With animals all around, India is such a hell!” The deafening sound of gunfire seem to have pock-marked the entire movie. Both the parts are full of bloodletting, where people have been cut into pieces as if it were a butcher’s shop.
The film doesn’t have the kind of lewdness of the skin that has so heavily titillated Bhatt’s audience so far. Yet the dialogues let out jaw-dropping mouthful of abuses. Anurag gifts you with a music that transports you into the back and white era (‘chand aur roti’). Then ‘tar bijli se patle humare piya’ song sounds so down-to-earth rustic. For romance, the film portrays small town youth’s longings in an amazing manner.
Richa Chadha, who has portrayed the role of Manoj Bajpai’s wife, has got quite a bit of footage, and she has justified it. Reema hasn’t got more than ten minutes (both parts included), yet her plain, makeup-free face hasn’t been a minus from the voluptuousness and oomph that she betrays (the reason for some ‘ahs and oohs’ coupled with some whistles from the audience). Huma Qureshi is simply beautiful. She is from Delhi’s Gargi College. Siri Fort is a stone’s throw from her college. As soon as she stepped in, the 3,000-strong audience section wildly welcomed the local heart-stealer. And there came a sharp, resounding voice wafting across the hall: Huma I love you.
Huma responded with a laugh – she may not have had a better welcome! Said Sudhir Sobti of Delhi Tourism, which partly organized the event: “When Huma was taken for the shoot, her fans went crazy. Her looks give you an impression as if the Hindi film industry has got back its Madhubala (as opposed to westernised Katrina and Kareena types).
Two young boys have acted as ‘Perpendicular’ and ‘Definite.’ They have done a wonderful; job. ‘Wasseypur’ is a kind of movie that involves a lot of effort. Although not much is spent on the star cast, its viewing is best enjoyed only on the big screen. Otherwise, one runs the risk of skipping the details. So for a big screen movie buff, the loss can be monumental.
The Osian film festival had another interesting nugget: Richa Chadha wore an ultra-low shimmering saree. That was apparently meant to be a giveaway for her fans, who saw her “bare belly” in a “pregnant state” in one of the intense scenes of the movie. That was a camouflage. The fact is she is in her early twenties, and isn’t married. Richa has portrayed the role of a woman thrice her age. She is from Delhi and the daughter of a teacher mother and an MBA father. She left her studies when she was in her late teens. The destination was Mumbai and her calling was theatre. She completed her diploma in theatre and struggled for work.
Richa said Anurag made her practice on the sets for the dirty abuses and instructed everyone to talk the dirty mouthfuls. The real trouble arose when she started showering the swear words while driving through a traffic snarl in Mumbai. This is what we call getting into the skin of the character.