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    By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
    Thursday, April 27, 2006
    It's not a film, but an idea that works!

    Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt have always believed in the power of content. Continuing with the practice of making films within limited budgets and casting new talent, their new endeavor Gangster also relies on a robust storyline than extravagant/grandiose sets or star power.

    But let's clear a few myths pertaining to Gangster first and foremost...

    • The title Gangster may give an impression that it's a violent film. Or, perhaps, it abounds in inter-gang rivalry. Is it one? Gangster talks of a dreaded Gangster and there are sequences that depict violence. But Gangster is more of a love story than a violent saga.
    • Does that make Gangster a love triangle? In Gangster, the woman is torn between two men, who love her unconditionally. She has to make a choice. It's at this point that you realize the power of a great screenplay because the serpentine twists and turns in the plot catch you completely unaware.

    Post Murder, the Bhatts have produced a number of noteworthy films, but the ones that stood out were Zeher and Kalyug. Their new effort, Gangster, charters into an alley that has rarely been visited by Bollywood. Of course, there have been Gangster films in the past [Parinda, Satya, Vaastav, Company, D], but Gangster is, without a shred of doubt, one of the best Gangster films Hindi cinema has produced.

    A film like Gangster proves the power of pen [story idea: Mahesh Bhatt, screenplay: Anurag Basu, dialogues: Girish Dhamija] and coupled with bravura performances [Emraan, Shiny, Kangana], razor-sharp and acidic dialogues and brilliant execution [director: Anurag Basu], this one's a winner all the way.

    All said and done, this Gangster makes you surrender to its charm due to its rich emotional appeal, not gunpowder.

    Simran [Kangana] is an alcoholic, heading towards doom. The only person who comforts her when she's feeling low in far-away Seoul [South Korea] is Aakash [Emraan Hashmi], a singer in an Indian restaurant. Their relationship gradually changes from friendship to love. And one night, Aakash learns of Simran's past and the prime reason for her loneliness.

    From a bar dancer in Mumbai to a lonely, pointless existence in Seoul, Simran's journey is full of thorns. She is the girlfriend of the dreaded Gangster Daya [Shiny Ahuja], a man on the run. He is in Mauritius, then Dubai, later Seoul. He has no place he can call his own.

    When Daya learns of Simran's relationship with Aakash, he promises to mend ways and fulfill her dreams of a normal life. But there are complications. Simran discovers that she is pregnant; she is carrying Aakash's baby. She is now torn between the two men in her life. She has to make a choice!

    But she is in for a rude shock when she eventually chooses the right man for her!

    A complex subject, Gangster would've got ruined in inept hands. But director Anurag Basu peels layer after layer with utmost care, giving you an inside view of an ordinary mortal, who happens to be a Gangster on the run.

    The film begins with a startling shootout. And the mystery only deepens when the film gets into a flashback mode and the story changes tracks from a Gangster film to a complicated love story. Just when you thought that Kangana had finally found true love, there's a major twist in the tale. The viewer is zapped at this juncture and you await the hurt party's next move.

    The graph of the film only goes higher in the second hour. The sequence after the interval, when Shiny almost kills Emraan, is hair-raising. There's a twist in the tale again as Shiny decides to start life afresh. There's yet another twist when Kangana decides to turn to Emraan. Yet again when Kangana turns cold and hostile. Once again when Kangana realizes her folly. And a twist in the climax. In actuality, you just can't guess what's in store next in Gangster.

    Director Anurag Basu deserves distinction marks for handling the subject with such conviction. Every vital point in the story has been handled expertly by the storyteller, besides working hard on the performances of the three principal characters. Basu's execution gets a major boost due to the writing. The twists and turns in the storyline take the film to another level completely.

    Pritam's music is another highpoint. The songs have a different sound and the placement of each track in the narrative make you cherish them all the more. 'Tuhi Meri Shab Hai Subah Hai' and 'Bheegi Bheegi' are the best tracks. Even the song in the second half, 'Ya Ali', has a strong story running simultaneously. Cinematography [Bobby Singh] is consistent. The locales of Seoul give the film that extra zing.

    Gangster rests on three players and each comes up with sterling performances. Emraan delivers a power-packed performance, more so towards the post-interval portions. The sequence in the Indian Embassy [in the second half] proves that Emraan has grasped the grammar of acting to perfection. This is his most accomplished work to date.

    Kangana is not just a photogenic face, but also a first-rate actor. It's rare for an actor to get such a difficult role in her very first film and its all the more difficult for the newcomer to carry it off with Élan. But Kangana takes to Simran like a fish takes to water. An actor to watch!

    Shiny is remarkable. In fact, the actor has to rely on expressions [he doesn't get many lines to mouth] and the impact he makes cannot be described in mere words. He is fabulous in three sequences specifically, first when he reaches unannounced at Kangana's residence in Seoul [interval point], then when he breaks down in Kangana's laps, asking her to give him one more chance and the outburst scene in the pre-climax. Reserve all the awards for this powerhouse of talent! Gulshan Grover is exceptional in a small role. His dialogues are soaked in acid.

    On the whole, Gangster is one of the finest films to hit the screens this year. At the box-office, it has the potential to prove a major success story. Strongly recommended!

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