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Gulaab Gang – Movie Review

Gulaab Gang, directed by Soumik Sen stars Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla in the lead. The film is based on Gulabi Gang, a group of Indian women vigilantes and activists dressed in pink saris, fighting against the social injustice and operating in the Bundelkhand region of central India.

Gulaab Gang, even with its hundred flaws is a cinematic experience you cannot afford to miss. But it is also one of the finest examples of how one shouldn't treat a very serious subject in most irresponsible manner. Bollywood is proving it again and again that it doesn't have enough directors to treat hard hitting subjects in a way they deserve to be filmed. This film, made with so much pretension and melodrama, will make you think about the greatness of directors such as Shyam Bengal, Govind Nihlani and the early Ram Gopal Varma. Please do not expect a Bandit Queen or Mirch Masala if you are booking tickets for this Anubhav Sinha produced flick.

The film is said to be based on the real outfit named ‘Gulaabi Gang' but is a completely over the top masala flick with a fake label of realism and feminism attached to it. Some of the scenes are marred with so much melodrama that you may think of those bad 80s run of mill films.

Bollywood filmmakers are so carried way by Madhuri Dixit's dance numbers that they often force properly choreographed songs even after intensely serious scenes, which destroys the make the 'make-believe' aspect of the film. But the film still re-infuses the cliché idea that the women who can defeat men in a physical fight only are entitled to be called as "strong women." This is a fake take on feminism and the film's pretentious treatment of Gulaabi Gang is just an attempt to tap the box office with the sentimentalism attached to the subject in recent times.

Even though director has given all the ‘confident, winning dialogues' to Madhuri's character, Juhi Chawla in a killer performance diffuses all her charm and dominates the scene, which is pleasurable to watch.  Thanks to Soumik Sen, Juhi has a killer intro where she sends a cop who doesn't touch her feet for a 'lambee leave' (suspension). To compare Gulaab Gang with a gritty and very realistic film like Bandit Queen would be a grave sin. Soumik Sen as a director does not reflect any maturity; instead he becomes one of those pretending pseudo intellectual faces of Bollywood.

I consider it very 'over the top' and silly when Gulaab Gang cult dances with perfectly choreographed movements, after each killing and torture episode. When will our cinema grow up? When will we learn to make a realistic film?  It is sad that director Soumik Sen couldn't convince Madhuri Dixit to appear without makeup. When a hard working village woman appear in each and every frame with full makeup and no sweat, it reminds you that you are indeed watching a film!

Fights in the film are a challenge even for Rajnikanth. The Gulaab gang has a special skill to fly when they fight. The villains wait patiently to get punched and stabbed because Gulaab Gang actors are slow in their action movements! Ninety five percent of male characters in Gulaab Gang is born to rape or abuse women and all of them happen to be cowards. There is a constant and deliberate attempt to cash in on the feminist wave that is sweeping the country these days but the director doesn't seem to have a clear understanding of feminism.

The only saving grace of the film is Juhi Chawla who sizzles with her career best performance. Madhuri's performance pales in contrast to that of Juhi's. Juhi has become the character instead of ‘playing' it. She is only ‘realistic element' in the whole film.

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Gulaab Gang
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