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Cast: Arjun Rampal, Aishwarya Rajesh, Farhan Akhtar, Nishikant Kamat
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
Producers: Arjun Rampal, Rutvij Patel
Writers: Ashim Ahluwalia, Arjun Rampal
What's Yay: Arjun Rampal, Production Design
What's Nay: Slow-paced screenplay kills most of the fun
Popcorn Refill: Interval
Iconic Moment: There ain't any memorable scenes that stay with you.
In the 1960s and late 1970s, when Mumbai's textile mills were shutting down one after the other, many unemployed youth including Arun Gulab Gawli (Arjun Rampal) resort to matka-gambling on the insistence of his friends, Rama Naik (Rajesh Shringarpure) and Babu Reshim (Anand Ingale), to earn some quick buck and form their own gang.
However soon, Gawali finds himself getting trapped in a vortex of crime when he is taken under the wings of Maqsood bhai (Farhan Akhtar loosely modelled on Dawood Ibrahim) after commiting a murder. Further, their clashes of ideologies and power game turn them against each other.
Meanwhile, Gawli marries his sweetheart Zubaida who coaxes him to leave behind his murky profession. He almost makes up his mind to turn clean. But, when Rama gets killed in a brutal police encounter, Gawli takes in charge of their gang based in Dagdi. He suspects that Rama's killing was engineered by Maqsood and thus begins a gruesome gang war between them. Hot on the heels is a cop, Vijaykar Nitin who wants to nab Gawli at any cost and take him to task.
The rest of the plot revolves around how one of India's most feared gangsters landed up in politics and his transition to becoming 'Daddy'.
Ashim Ahluwalia's Daddy could have been gripping tale from the underbelly of Mumbai, had the film-maker not have fallen prey to romanticize his main character! The sluggish narrative too, puts you off and leaves you a tad confused at times with its abrupt jumping of time frame.
His film spends more minutes on showing us Gawli as a family man rather than his modus operandi and cold-blooded killings.
Arjun Rampal is impressive in parts. Arjun Gawli is said to be a man of few words and the actor has nearly nailed his body language right from his grunt to his sing-a-song manner. However, his prosthetic nose looks a little bit weird.
Nishikant Kamat is passable. Farhan Akhtar whose role is termed as a cameo has a longer screen time. Unfortunately, the actor is a total miscast as Maqsood Bhai. Aishwarya Rajesh barely manages to hold her presence. The supporting cast though puts up a good show.
Right from the drab chawls to the glittery bars, the film-maker has put attention to minute detailing of the film. Jessica Lee Gagné and Pankaj Kumar's sepia toned frames lend a distinct flavour to the film. The editing scissors could have been a little more sharper to keep it gripping.
The songs in Daddy fail to create any impact. Be it 'Zindagi Mera Dance Dance' or 'Aala Re Aala Ganesha'.
Daddy had the potential of being a dark, gripping gangster story, but instead ends up merely as a missed opportunity. There's a dialogue in the film where Gawli's wife tells a police officer, "Agar aap ek chawl me paida hota aur wo (Gawli) ek police officer ke ghar to aap gunda hota aur woh police officer." That, my friend, sets the major tone of the film!