Its a little late to review Gulaal but the amount everyone is raving about the movie, I could not be a bystander anymore. And it is one of those movies that confuses the best of us.
Of course, it is a genre of cinema that has found its audience in people-like-us who would not be caught watchingsaas bhee kabhi bahu thee or reading pulp fiction. An urbane population that's had its fill-of-the-gloss.
Ofcourse, Piyush Mishra's rendition of Dinkar's Rashmirathi ( Dedo kewal paanch gram, rakho apnee dharti tamaam, hum waheen khushi se khyange, parijano par asee na uthayange ) is class. Also, the lyrics are a perfect foliage to this dark broody political saga, but not in an Omkara way, more alive and more political. May be bollywood's alternative music comes of age with Gulaal.
Of course, Gulaal is crafty, very crafty , with extremely real portrayals of a professor stripped and locked in a room or a student leader hung from a royal gateway in broad daylight, it chills your spine.
Of course, the humor of story telling is apt , Mahi Gill as the luscious beauty parlor turned to a nautch girl whose st rinking resemblance with Tabu is accentuated with its leverage in the movie. She suffers from a -you-look-like-Tabu in the movie. So is its lyrical format - the Prithvi Banna & the ennuch with painted body do leave an impact.
Of course, Cinematographer Rajiv Ravi does a brilliant job of the dry & dusty Rajputana in daylight and bears a fire glow in the night.
But Gulaal has its problems
When a movie maker has legacy like Black Friday & DevD to live upto and starts of witth tribute to the grandmaster of Nihilism Gurudutt's- Yeh Duniya Mil bhee jaye to kya hain, you expect better. There are two parallel plots running , one of the student union and the other of Rajputana's assertion as a distinct entity from the contours of Independent India. That's fine but fails in between is their intersection which is convoluted.
Besides, there were too many stories that remained unresolved in Gulaal.Jess Randhwa as the professor, remains peripheral to the cinema.
What distracts me most in Gulaal is the lack of characterisation. Or its superficial quality. None of the characters grow on you. Neither, the Bikaner Boy Dileep, whose journey from the earnest to the nihilist is off the mark or Doki Banna who wants Rajputana over his life but gives in to a capricious Kiran. Roles are very poorly essayed and I feel bad for some of these strong actors. Kiran;s role in the second half as the power-hungry seductress has no inflexion points barring a royal father who disowns her.
I am sorry to veto popular opinion but most of the performances don't make an impact barring a few. Ayesha Mohan is forgettable. Kay Kay Menon repeats himself. I find it difficult to differentiate between Sarkaar's Vishnu, Black Friday's Inspector, Hazaroon Khwaise aisi's Siddhart and Rajputana's Dokee Banna. Raj Singh Choudhary has to be watched more. Among all, Abhimanyu Singh as the estranged son of the king impressed with his earthy charm and Mahi Gill made an impression as a nautch girl. And of course Prithvi Banna, the John Lennon.
If I have to watch this movie again , it will still be for Piyush Mishra.
2 weeks ago