Vengeance at leisure continues to be the theme of Gangs of Wasseypur II, the concluding part of Anurag Kashyap’s profane paean to the pleasures of movie violence. Gangs II takes off from the death of Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee), which is avenged in unhurried fashion by his successor, his second son Faisal (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Faisal, who was introduced in the previous movie, transitions effortlessly from a dope-smoking, movie-mad social misfit into a ruthless don who strikes new alliances, contests elections and marries the woman of his dreams (he is a monogamist unlike his father). Faisal has to deal with his psychotic younger brother, a lisping runt named Perpendicular, but more importantly, his half-brother, Definite, the son of Sardar Khan’s mistress Durga. Oh and, Qureshi (Pankaj Tripathi) and Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) continue to snap at Faisal’s heels, and he occasionally kicks them away.
Part one failed to adequately answer one question that nagged several viewers: why didn’t Sardar Khan simply walk up to his adversaries and plug them? Part two doesn’t bother to address the question either. The answer lies in Kashyap’s curious concoction of realism and fantasy. The movies are located in an actual place in the part of Jharkhand that used to be Bihar, but they actually play out inside the head of their fan-boy filmmaker and writers. Violence is the only goal of the writers and therefore, of the characters. Logic, motive, consequence – none of these can be permitted to interrupt the pleasure of watching people plot killings and then execute them. Part two is even more amoral than the first, and forays even deeper into the post-modern playground set up in part one.
The inconvenience of having to deal with the deprivations of presentday Bihar and Jharkhand is dealt with by retreating into a bubble in which reality is mediated by cinema. There are more of the references to iconic movies and the playful half English, half-Hindi parodic songs. Faisal channels Michael Corleone, Tony Montana and Amitabh Bachchan, and it’s hard to take people named Definite and Perpendicular seriously. The deaths of key characters go unmourned, since they die conveniently and aesthetically, sometimes even in slow motion. To draw us into a world that is untouched by external events, Kashyap creates unforgettable characters (the charismatic Nawazuddin Siddiqui stands head and shoulders above the rest), gets composer Sneha Khanwalkar to create a stellar soundtrack, and puts cinematographer Rajeev Ravi’s talents to good use.
The movie is as much heartless fun as the first, but it will also hopefully be the last word in the romanticisation of mofussil chic that has come to characterise a section of Hindi cinema. Now that all the references have been made, tributes paid and homage recorded, movies that explore the real issues plaguing India’s hinterland can finally be made.
By Nandini Ramnath on August 03 2012 4.19am