Arre yaar! Hum gunday they, gunday hain, aur gunday rahenge! Rejoice in the testosterone fest that is “Gunday”. Oh, it’s a boy’s film all the way, though there are plenty of slow-mo beefcake shots that will make all you ladies swoon. Move over Jai and Veeru, we have the brothers for the new age, Bikram and Bala!
Bol do usse… main usse bada gunda hoon...is what “Gunday” is all about. I have mixed feelings about this movie. Certainly the first half is all set up, and the scenes of brotherhood between the two leads can be a little on the “cheeeeezy” side, even by Bollywood standards. Did we really need to see the two leads wearing matching heart print pajama bottoms while proclaiming their love for Priyanka Chopra’s Nandita (the cabaret dancer with a secret)? Still, there are things to admire about the unique if farfetched masala laden script by the director/writer Ali Abbas Zafar.
First, the tying into actual events (with Bangladesh and refugees in Calcutta) during the time period lends the story more gravitas. Second, setting the story in the 70s is made all the more fun by the costume design, set pieces and Ranveer Singh’s almost alive undulating handle bar mustache. Yes, though the script drifts into cheesy territory at times, even during the first half through some “bakwas” moments, it has a certain bit of charm. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good buddy-buddy gunday movie? It’s the second half that really snaps the film into place as all the chess pieces that Ali Abbas Zafar set up are finally put into motion.
Ranveer Singh as Bikram is powerfully charismatic in his performance cementing his status as one of the brightest in Bollywood while Arjun Kapoor as Bala delivers a crazy nuanced performance. These two do quite well and share amazing chemistry together, lifting the film a bit higher than it deserves. A true bro-mance for the ages. Amidst all this testosterone, Priyanka Chopra portrays Nandita, the love of both men's lives and she finally gets a film where she has a chance to act. Almost stealing the show with his portrayal of ACP Satyajeet Sarkar is Irrfan Khan whose Machiavellian manipulations are at the core of the story.
The music by underrated music director Sohail Sen is quite good, with “Tune Maari Entriyaan” and “Jashn-e-Ishqa” really hitting the musical nerve. The cinematography by Aseem Mishra is outstanding, and is the real star of the movie. Finally, the stunts by Sham Kaushal, including the fighting scenes are superb, harkening back to the more exaggerated fighting styles we saw in the 70s, but with more modern touches.
All in all, “Gunday” will try your patience in spots, have you screaming bakwas in others, waiting at the edge of your seat during the second half, and ultimately make you realize that masala is good in small doses. So, I leave you with these words of wisdom, “Woh chahegi jiska ban-na, wo banega Rajesh Khanna”! Watch “Gunday” but check your mind at the door….