GUNDAY – Hindi Film Review

BY RUBY CHINGU

Gunday-Poster-NewDirected and Written by: Ali Abbas Zafar | Starring:Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Irrfan Khan

RATING – 6/10

It has been quite a depressing week in Malaysia. The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is still missing, the terrible haze in Shah Alam, the city where I’m staying and the general emotional helplessness continues to break our hearts as all around the world fervently hope for the missing flight to appear and the mystery to be solved. The tragedy led me to think of many things, the same way when my father passed away. Now would be the good time to tell your loved ones that you love them and try to achieve your dreams and to fulfill your wishes, as we never know when our time on earth will end. A sad morbid thought but that’s reality.

Alrighty, moving on to the more cheerful stuffs!

gunday-4_660_112113025925PLOT SUMMARY: The film I’m about to review today is Gunday, starring the ever-so-shameless-but-entertaining Ranveer Singh (or more affectionately, Ranveer Baba) and his baba friend, Arjun Kapoor. The premise of the film is about two childhood friends, Bikram and Bala, who became refugees resulted by the independence of Bangladesh. Identifying themselves as Indians, they survived their childhood by committing illegal acts of stealing coals for the older guys. As they managed to escape the depressing life in the refugee camp, they landed in the town of Kolkata, where their fearlessness in breaking the law and the bad guys resulted in the boys building a massive business empire, albeit always related to illegal dealings. Main point the film tried to convey is that though they were basically Mafia dons, they had the heart of gold. Like all the heroic Mafia dons in Hindi films, they did a lot of charity and ruled over the needy people of Kolkata with kindness and compassion. Then, entered the beautiful Nandita (Priyanka Chopra) into their lives. Both Bikram and Bala fell in love with the same woman and promised each other that they would respect whoever Nandita chooses to be with. As per usual, what Nandita did in entertaining the flirtatious behaviours of both men and ended up in choosing only one caused a drift in Bikram and Bala’s relationship. Other than that, they also faced challenges in the form of ACP Sarkar (by the amazing Irrfan Khan) who had been tracking their criminal activities for a long time.

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REVIEW: Overall, the film is very very entertaining. It has all the ingredients to a great Hindi film – action, that dirty ruggedness of a masculine Indian man, some romance, some underground don-related stuffs and great item songs. However, the main ingredient that made Gunday so enjoyable is the brotherhood of Bikram and Bala. The chemistry of Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor is superb here. BROMANCE TO THE CORE, BABY! They did everything together – lived off the streets together, built a business together, committed crimes together, slept next to each other on the same bed wearing the same clothes all the time together to the point I find their relationship to be extraordinarily sweet but gay.

The minus point I’m very unhappy with is the fact that they drifted apart due to a woman, which makes the film kind of predictable. Nevertheless, Priyanka is sooo stunning in her item songs (highlights: Tune Mari Entriyaan and Asalaam-e-Ishqum). She’s stunning but that’s just it. She was not much of a presence compared to Irrfan Khan who played a cop that has been trying to put Bikram and Bala in jail for years.

Now, to the acting of Ranveer Baba and Arjun Baba. In all honesty, I am not a fan of Ranveer. He’s great and all, I know. He was amazing in Band Baaja Baarat, the film that ALMOST made me fall in love with him. I have yet to watch Ricky Bahl and Lootera, though. But in Ram Leela, Ranveer did not impress me much as an actor. I enjoy watching him more in real life than in films, which is weird because it is supposed to be the other way round. Ranveer as a person is infectiously funny, bubbly and simply crazy (note: do watch his interview in Koffee With Karan, the 4th season). Unfortunately, it seems like the character of Ram in Ram Leela and Bikram in Gunday were tailored for that side of his personality. Thus, I kept thinking that I am seeing the same Ranveer Baba over and over again – the happy, sometimes conflicted but naturally funny and confident man that he is.

But damn, Ranveer Baba can surely dance like there’s no tomorrow! And he’s super hot! I know he’s hairy and oily and all…. but still, I think he’s hot. That’s the problem, though. I find myself to be strangely attracted to this actor yet at the same time I don’t really like him that much. Hmmmm, now how did that happen?? Hahahaha

30ot506h2vttebnd.D.0.Arjun-Kapoor-Gunday-Film-PhotoNow we go to Arjun Baba. Okay. Let me just put this out there – ARJUN KAPOOR IS AN G-R-E-A-T ACTOR! Unexpectedly, he is the one who actually brings more emotional depth and layers to Gunday. I first saw Arjun in Ishaqzaade, in which he was great as well. But in next film, Aurangzeb, he totally challenged himself by playing dual roles of a pair of twins with completely different personalities. I love how Arjun seems to be quite selective in his works and refuses to play the same character over and over again. He’s young and hot and new and he could easily choose to do that but he did not. So, yes, I am very proud of him. He did not manage to get the girl (Nandita) in Gunday, as she chose the obviously hotter and more oily Bikram (Ranveer) but that made Bala more humane and wounded. Thus, Arjun got to deliver a wider emotional range compared to Ranveer. While the latter’s character as Bikram was limited to a cheerful mischievous sweet lover, the former’s character as Bala was an embittered man of few words with a tough exterior but a soft kind heart. He displayed his disappointment over losing Nandita’s love so well – his facial expressions during the song Saaiyaan are so heartbreaking! *cries*

God, am I Arjun’s fan now? I think so. I did not really like him at first but after seeing how well he acted, I am super excited to see his next performance. Go Arjun Kapoor! I believe in you!

IN CONCLUSION, ARJUN KAPOOR’S ACTING IS THE BEST THING IN THE FILM.

Now, what don’t I like in the film? The actions scenes are overrated. But then, that’s a given for all masala films. And too many chest exposure. I mean, I do love naked guys but do they have to be oily and sweaty ALL THE TIME? There was this one fight scene where Ranveer and Arjun were running towards each other, topless and wet, and I can literally see their chest muscles bouncing up and down. I mean, I’m not sure…. is bouncy chest supposed to be sexy? I mean… this sweaty sex and all… I’m not sure… But hey, if you like it like that, you like it like that and who am I to judge? Hahahahahaha.

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The slow-motion muscle running thing I was talking about

Watch the film if you like a good bromance story. Plus, the music by Sohail Sen is super great. And also, do appreciate Arjun Kapoor’s performance! Heheheehe.

P/S: Never stop praying for Flight MH370 and the people in it. Also pray to the Search and Rescue team members who are working very hard to find the plane and rescue the people inside it. I pray that everyone involved in the incident is safe and sound and I hope the loved ones can be reunited with them. Dear Allah, do give them strength to face this experience.

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TO EACH ITS OWN MERITS – BBC Sherlock and CBS Elementary

BY RUBY CHINGU

I am here today to talk about what have been the most important series to my life in the past 2 years of my life, BBC Sherlock, and what seems to be the increasingly important series in my current  life, CBS Elementary. Both have been adapted from the very famous Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. TV producers had and have been using and modifying the same stories of Holmes again and again and again and suprisingly…. we the readers and audiences never really get tired of the detective tale, aren’t we? Palah Chingu wrote a review covering both series a few months ago. Since I have just finished watching the first season of Elementary, I have this crazy urge to let out my thoughts about the two series, too. Like, seriously, who can ever resist our modern interpretations of Sherlock Holmes?

BBC SHERLOCK

sherlockbbc2I love the series. I love it to death with an indescribable devotion. You see, BBC only produces around three to five episodes of Sherlock per season. Sometimes, the fans have to wait several very long months until the next season shows up. Each and every single month that passes, trust me, a Sherlock fan would be praying for the BBC crew to just fucking start shooting so that we can go crazy over seeing Sherlock and his best friend, Watson on screen together.

It is a brilliant highly intelligent series. The episodes are superbly written and directed. But then, I’d expect no less from BBC. Come to think of me, I do think Brits TVs are much more careful and meticulous in their productions. They don’t rely on too much gloss, they love to inject a bit sense of intellectuality here and there. It’s exactly like that for Sherlock. The first time I saw it, I thought – what a motherfucking great series! It’s so complicated, I don’t get what shits Sherlock is saying most of the time – but hell, I am sure addicted to it. The writing makes the episodes very unpredictable and the twists in the episodes – unlike other cliched detective series – really does blow your mind.

SHERLOCKBenedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes – need I say more? His acting turned me into a helpless Cumberbitch. Gifted with a face with unique features, Benedict gives Sherlock this out-of-this-world character. He’s a genius – no, make that a super genius, second only to his brother, Mycroft – who views human beings around him as those of a lower less-intelligent species. Despite how egoistically selfish and vain that sounds, he’s not that wrong. He is super selfish, he is a bastard, he is mean, he gives very mean comments to people who actually care about him. He has no reason and rationality unless they are vital for his investigative works. Apparently, he is not a psychopath but a high functioning sociopath. Bottom line is, he’s crazy. I love this new interpretation of Sherlock – if our intelligence agency is made of men like him, I will never have to worry about the safety of the world anymore. However, in all honestly, I would not like to know him in person if he exists in real life. I have no doubt he’d be a real pain in the ass.

Sherlock (2010)

Sherlock does not emote, period. Except for perhaps in some very sweet moments with his one and only John Watson, played by Martin Freeman. John, as Sherlock calls him, is possibly Sherlock’s link to the world of normalcy. Not that our John here is an exemplar of what is normal but next to Sherlock, he is pretty much the only sane person Sherlock lets into his mind. They met as roommates and overtime, John became Sherlock’s confidante, best friend (albeit strangely), and partner. Watson is essentially the ‘wife’ in Sherlock’s life. He’s reliable, he’s polite, he’s soft-spoken, he’s flexible, he looks normal from every angle. He wants (or thinks that he wants) the normal life. The hope, however, is constantly diminished by Sherlock’s presence. He cares for Sherlock when people gives up on doing so. He embraced Sherlock’s craziness (and selfishness) reluctantly since he realized nothing can change the person his best friend is. John mourned for months and years after Sherlock died before his eyes. The first time I saw Sherlock cried when he was telephoning Watson prior to the jump (though later we’d know that the death was faked. Of course it was fucking fake!). The first time I saw Sherlock apologized was also when he asked for John’s forgiveness for pretending to be dead, knowing how crushed John would be.

sherlockwedding_2781381bThe chemistry between Benedict and Martin (God, this sounds GAY!) is so amazing, it makes me want to cry. The way they look next to each other is different – Sherlock has that dark I-am-such-a-mysteriously-brilliant-man look whereas John looks just like….. someone who would be called John. Your next-door guy whom you’d expect to mow the lawn every now and then. The way they talk to each other is also cute – Sherlock would go yap and yap and yap and John, most of the time, has to listen and bear with his sentences cut short by his genius detective friend. They are always constantly together. John is often annoyed with Sherlock, though he gave up of ever expressing such feelings. Sherlock found a person he thought he’d never find in John – a friend. Most importantly, they love each other. (Again, very very GAY!) The writers seem to notice the explosive fandom the series has created over this couple that they actually intensified to a whole new level in Series Three. John was literally – I tell you – Sherlock’s damsel-in-distress. Hahaha, people, I give you – the GREATEST BROMANCE TO EVER EXIST ON PLANET EARTH.

CBS ELEMENTARY

key_elementaryFirst time I heard that CBS would be producing their own TV series based on Sherlock Holmes, I was quite pissed off. Why create another one when we already have the amazing BBC version? Why can’t they buy the copyrights and show the series in America? Are the writers in US out of ideas already? They seem to have been adapting sources out of their country for some time now. I mean – I could not think any other actor could play a modern Sherlock other than Benedict. And I was sure that Elementary would suck, big time. I was convinced the series was rubbish without even seeing it.

Hell, I was very very wrong. Foolishly wrong.

I am going to be very honest now. Story-wise, BBC Sherlock is much better and superior. I think BBC Sherlock also has better directions, pace, and a more elegant cinematography, which resulted in more impact to the audiences’ minds. Elementary has some smartly-written clever episodes. At times, it has average episodes. But BBC Sherlock’s writings are not just clever and smart – they are brilliant. But I think such comparison is fairly obvious. Sherlock has 3 to 5 episodes per season but CBS writers have to dig their heads to come out with clever stories for 24 episodes. I mean, the writers are not robots, people. BUT ELEMENTARY is one hell of an addictive series, made up of awesomeness and pure joy.

???Why? Because of Jonny Lee Miller, whom I wrongly accused of being unable to interpret the character as good as Benedict. In truth, he’s great. And there is no comparison at all because his acting makes Elementary a totally different show from Sherlock. Jonny’s Sherlock is a genius nonetheless. However, he is a bit more relatable. His emotional range is significantly expanded. He CAN emote – he fell in love once. He is a recovered drug addict whose father hired a sober companion, Joan Watson, to ensure that he does not relapse and return to his drug habits. In a way, he’s very flawed. He is also essentially a man-child. He does not really place much important in hygiene of himself and his apartment. He is obsessive over his cases and works for free as a consultant detective for NYPD. Why? Because he does not need to earn any money. He is a spoiled brat who lives off the money from the trust fund he inherited, which means he came from an insanely wealthy family. That explains why he’s immature 90% of the time. He’s often giddy, anxious and impatience.

Oh God, I love seeing him on screen. I completely fell in love with Sherlock Holmes! I find him so endearing and adorable! Now, Jonny’s Sherlock is someone I would not mind meeting in real life. Hehe.

lucy iuLucy Liu‘s interpretation of Joan Watson is also impressive. I was skeptical at first when I heard that CBS was going to turn Watson into a female character. The first thought that popped into my head was – are the writers going to make them sleep together? Cause sex and romance would pretty much destroy the professional and friendship-based chemistry Sherlock and Watson have in all the other versions. Good news, they don’t (or at least not yet and please keep it that way). Our Watson here (because Sherlock does not address her as Joan) is a calm and collected sober companion who would change his career into a consulting detective and Sherlock’s partner. As a former surgeon and an experienced sober companion, she comes off as a healer to broken things. Patients, drug addicts etc etc. She is supremely patience, smart, confidence and, though at times amazed at Sherlock’s skill, never deems Sherlock as a superior being. She also has a very clear mind and a great sense of control – something that Sherlock lacks.

elementary-super-bowl-cbsNow let’s talk about their chemistry. It did take me a few episodes to get over the GREATEST BROMANCE OF ALL TIME and neutralize my head to accept the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson. It is surprisingly refreshing to see them together. The dynamic between Sherlock and Watson here is completely different. Sherlock calls Watson, Watson, perhaps because he’s not used to the name Joan. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think Sherlock here is less affectionate to his partner compared to the BBC version, which does not make it a bad thing. Their dynamic relationship is akin to a relationship between an elder sister and a mischievous younger brother. Now, you don’t normally express your love to your sister, do you? Sherlock does care very much about Watson but he does not have to tell her because he knows she would always be there for him, to limit his impulsiveness and to control him. Yes, that’s the main difference between the BBC and the CBS versions of this chemistry – our Watson has the power to ACTUALLY restrain Sherlock.She was, at first, his sober companion – meaning she had to make sure he does not relapse. She made sure his habits are under control and forced her way into his life, though he disliked it at first. As time passed by, our man-child Sherlock realized that with Watson, he is a better man, a better recovered drug addict and a sharper detective. And God, I do find it enjoyable to see a Sherlock that listens and abides to someone’s opinions but himself. Now that is what makes this so sweet. Sherlock, being a recovered addict, did want to go back to his drugs but he confessed the only thing stopping him was that he did not want to disappoint Watson, who has been nagging on and on about it. When Irene Adler was staying at their apartment, he also insisted Watson to stay, because “this is your home,” as he said to her. I mean… that is so motherfucking sweet, I almost cried.

Ok… I’m done.

NOW that is a very long gibberish paragraphs of spazzings and fangirls over Sherlock and Elementary. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, thank you for creating the stories. I love your novels and love the fact that people keep adapting your stories again and again. You make my life so happy.