It’s possible that Gangs of Wasseypur probably did not need two parts — or five hours and forty minutes — for this story to unfold.
Maybe it could have taken us through the whole journey through one protagonist (like Noodles in Once Upon a Time in America or The Bride in Kill Bill) instead of remaking the same film except for the ending.
Maybe it should have not used more characters than it could handle without requiring voiceover or titles.
But let's forget the “should’ve-beens” and the “could’ve-beens” and look around.
For some reason, the filmmaker narrating a story with song, dance, laughs and stunts has never been taken as seriously as the one telling you a realistic, depressing story in a grave voice.
Critics and movie buffs have implied that the serious guy is more artistic than the entertainer and that one form of storytelling is greater than the other.
More recently, words like “critic-proof” started being thrown around for films that entertained the masses but never satisfied critics. No matter how bad it may be, you still want to go watch a certain Khan film because... Because you love the guy.
It's time we extended that licence to certain filmmakers as well.
If there's one filmmaker who has earned that right, it’s Anurag Kashyap.
He deserves that Hall Pass to go out and make whatever he wants because there are very few filmmakers who make films like he does.
Be it the controversial Paanch that was deemed to be anti-establishment.
Be it the David Lynch-ian No Smoking that made critics wonder what influence he was under.
Be it the faithful adaptation of a novel in Black Friday...
His audacious re-interpretion of Devdas.
Or That Girl in Yellow Boots, that terribly scripted masterclass in direction.
Love it or hate it, you just cannot ignore the kind of cinema that Kashyap has brought to India, no matter how derived.
The second part of this film is more Gags of Wasseypur... Of people chasing their enemies, swearing and shooting, even making jokes about the kind of cinema they hate... all done in style and set to a fantastic soundtrack by Sneha Khanwalkar.
Kashyap’s brand of pop-realism here involves using the local dialect and milieu as an excuse to make his ensemble cast of superlative actors do the most Tarantino-esque things in a City of God-like world BUT adapted appropriately to the film-crazy heartland of India.
The chase involving a three-way phone conversation and a hit-man is a fine example of how Kashyap labours to add quirks that try to make us believe this is realistic cinema. While the informer is wondering out loud about their subject's curious choice of buying jackfruit instead of his regular meat, the assassin is having a problem talking on the phone through his helmet and the middle-man co-ordinating these two parties finds THIS to be the most opportune moment to tie his dhoti while shifting from one phone to the other. As the gap between the hunter and the hunted narrows down, the tension mounts, leaving you on the edge of your seat. Funny and entertaining, no doubt. Realistic, not.
This is exactly the kind of situation we would never complain about in a Khan film but because it's Kashyap, we expect his cinema to be smarter.
Yet, Gangs of Wasseypur is one of those few films that tries to straddle many worlds — the real and the unreal — and succeeds by crafting many explosive moments of heart pounding tension, spectacularly awe-inspiring action choreography and heartwarming moments of romance while telling us a morally bankrupt revenge tale that tries hard not to be sentimental. You might wish it had a deeper emotional core or some meaning but Kashyap just wants to leave his fingerprints over every frame without judging who’s right and who’s wrong.
You can sense the passion and excitement behind every lovingly crafted indulgent sequence that is designed to make you laugh or whistle while it tries hard to hold on to its “This-is-an-epic-docudrama-based-on-real-incidents” badge. It's certainly not an easy film to conceive let alone execute.
So yes, though it can be argued that this didn’t need two parts, who are we to stop a filmmaker from daring to dream big?
Gangs of Wasseypur 2
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Richa Chadda, Huma Qureshi, Piyush Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi, Jameel Khan, Aditya Kumar, Zeishan Qadri, Vineet Singh, Reema Sen
Storyline: Faizal Khan must avenge the death of his father and settle scores with Ramadhir Singh and assorted gangs of Wasseypur
Bottomline: Nobody can make films like Anurag Kashyap. Nobody would dare to either. You got to love the passion and indulgence of the entire team if not the film itself.