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Gulaal - Movie Review

By Nikhil Kumar
Fri, Mar 13, 2009 22:15 IST

Gulaal Stories about a simple man's anger and outburst against the corrupt, corroding system have been seen and forgotten by the dozen, and Anurag Kashyap's angst-ridden Gulaal turns out to be just a statistical addition to the list.

True, the movie is hard-hitting and a telling statement on the degeneration in the political structure both at the micro level of student politics and the macro level of power-hungry, tyrannical megalomaniacs who stop at nothing to realize their political ambitions. It starts off pretty well as Anurag Kashyap introduces the characters, and it develops momentum as the murky motives are unveiled. The movie, however, becomes a hodgepodge in the second half as it climaxes to a blood curdling crescendo all because of a one-sided love story gone horribly wrong.

Dilip Singh ( Raj Singh Chaudhary ), a simple, soft-spoken nerd comes to Rajasthan to study law but gets unwittingly sucked into the vortex of student politics after his roommate Rananjay (Abhimanyu Singh), a candidate contesting college elections, is bumped off.




Dukey Bana ( Kay Kay Menon ), an influential figure who dreams of wedging out a splinter Rajputana state, takes Dilip under his wing and makes him win the post of General Secretary through rigged elections.

Dilip's rival in the elections, Kiran ( Ayesha Mohan ), and her cunning brother ( Aditya Shrivastav ) are unable to digest their defeat. Kiran lures Dilip with love and sex. And he - like any able man in his right senses - succumbs to the temptation. But gradually the dirty, murky political game is revealed to Dilip as he finds Kiran take over political powers from him and dump him and move on to play her amorous tricks on the bigger shark - Dukey Bana.

Hell hath no fury like a lover scorned. Dilip, the simple, gullible, bespectacled wimp who was ragged into spending days naked inside a room with a female professor ( Jesse Randhawa ) when he joined the college, now takes to the gun after realizing that he's been used as just a pawn in the bigger game.

'Gulaal' is essentially a character driven story that seems to get too verbose at places. The dialogues are expectedly sprinkled with expletives because the director apparently wanted them to sound 'real'. The cinematography by Rajeev Ravi is superb. Music and lyrics by Piyush Mishra are intriguing.

If there's anything truly worth watching in 'Gulaal' it's the performances by the ensemble of talented actors from Kay Kay Menon as the devious Dukey Bana to Deepak Dobriyal as his assistant or Mahi Gill as his mistress.

Newcomer Raj Singh Chaudhary has an unassuming persona and convincingly portrays the inner transformation of his character. Ayesha Mohan and Aditya Shrivastava as the brother sister duo are terrific in their individual performances.

All said, 'Gulaal' is a seething, simmering, but tortuously predictable tale of all that's rotten in the system. All through the movie you get an uncanny feeling that the director has pooled all his anger, angst and cynicism against the system and spewed it on the screen to be smacked at the faces of hapless viewers in the form of 'Gulaal'.

Frankly, there're better things to do with your time and money than have a taste of someone else's angst.

Rating: **



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