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A snoozeworthy baddie-buddy flick

15th Feb 2014


Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor

Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor have been inseparable these last few weeks. They've pretty much made out on Karan Johar's couch, danced like loonies on Kapil Sharma's stage, and chattered away nonstop to various news channels. There was even talk of Priyanka Chopra feeling neglected and left out — because this bromance was part of the promotional activity for Yash Raj Films' Valentine's Day release, Gunday, and everyone seemed to have forgotten that she was also a part of it. If only they had brought a fraction of all this into the actual film.

Ali Abbas Zafar's Gunday begins with two little friends fleeing Dhaka in 1971, and smuggling themselves into Calcutta. These terrified kids are Bikram and Bala, whose circumstances lead them to do all kinds of (literally) unbelievable things, before they become coal smugglers. are inseparable; they stick by each other, they do everything together, they do and die for each other ­— do jism, ek jaan and all that jazz. And we know this through some tedious incidents that the film rushes us through in the first half hour.

By the time they grow up into Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor, respectively, 10 years later, this duo has also taken over cotton, steel, timber and LPG industries, with schools and hospitals in their name. At this point, we are told between yawns that Calcutta is now known for two things: Howrah Bridge and Bikram-Bala. They're doing all kinds of illegal stuff, but they can't be nabbed because there is no proof of any of it, and no witnesses.

Enter ACP Satyajit Sarkar (Irrfan Khan), who takes on the responsibility of bringing these two to book once and for all. Then there's cabaret dancer Nandita (Priyanka Chopra), who both boys fall in love with immediately.

Gunday has all the right ingredients: a love triangle and guns, Singh's chiselled Ram-Leela body, a battle between brawn and brain, Irrfan Khan, a significant twist here and there...but the fire's missing, so this two and a half hour-long movie leaves you largely unsatisfied. I'd even go so far as to say I was pretty bored. Sure, they tried. But it just didn't work.

Zafar shows us Calcutta in clichés, complete with repeated references to Goddess Durga, fish and football. We could have forgiven this if the rest of it sat right. But neither Singh nor Kapoor is enough of a rascal to be endearing; the duo's camaraderie is nothing compared to the mad riot they've been off-screen, and their comic timing is off. I started out cheering for these two, I really did, but unfortunately this one is an easy miss.

-Ravina Rawal

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