Bromance alone maketh not a film


Hindi (U/A) **

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Saurabh Shukla

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
A film has promise when the first half ends with the story so progressed that everything crammed into it could well have been the entire film. Then begins the second half, with a significantly slower pace, and twists that could be predicted much earlier.

It's director Ali Abbas Zafar's way of saying “legen... wait for it...”, but the “...dary” never arrives. And that's one reason “Gunday” falters, despite some rocking chemistry between Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor.

All but the last quarter of the film seems to have been revealed in the trailers. Just play a good game of fill-in-the-blanks, and you see pre-pubescent Bikram (Ranveer Singh) and Bala (Arjun Kapoor) come to “Calcutta” circa early 1970s, and with the help of one Kali babu (Saurabh Shukla), grow up to be much-loved goons. Errr... Gunday. 

Both fall for cabaret dancer Nandita (Priyanka Chopra), but not before ACP Satyajit Sarkar (Irrfan Khan) is called in to rein them in. How he does it forms the crux of the film. 

What “Gunday” has going for it is some sparkling bromance between Ranveer and Arjun. However, once separated, Ranveer seems to lose the plot, while Arjun alternates between screechy, hysterical laughter and startlingly similar growls. Priyanka does little to impress, despite the scope of her role. Surprisingly, even Saurabh Shukla and Irrfan Khan fail to leave a mark!

And then there are the anachronisms: Objects that shouldn't be there, wrong spellings, blasts that rip across a godown but fail to move a person even an inch with its aftershock. Missing is a strong leitmotif, which references to a certain football club could have provided, given that it initially began as a melting pot of people who came to India from what was first East Bengal, then East Pakistan, and finally Bangladesh.

It could have been a fitting metaphor, given how Bikram and Bala are constantly reminded of their refugee status. Alas, that is not the case, and “Gunday”, with songs that never make a mark, weakened story and plot, uninspired acting and lack of strong directorial skills, is poorer for it, barely meriting a one-time watch.

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