It was almost a year back that my friend Madhav recommended Gulaal to me. He even provided a DVD, only to be kept aside and forgotten. This afternoon, I took it out to watch and have been regretting why I had not watched it earlier.
Gulaal is admittedly not a very path-breaking film in terms of its basic plot, which is student politics, but treated in the deft hands of Anurag Kashyap, it has turned out to be an eminently watchable film. It was especially interesting for me because its taut screenplay runs against an authentic Rajasthani back-drop, which I thoroughly relished.
The almost apologetic protagonist of the film is Dileep Singh (played by Raj Singh Chaudhary), a shy university student who in the start of the film is befriended by a fearless Rajput student Ran’sa i.e. Rananjay Singh (played excellently by Abhimanyu Singh) and is thrown in to a vortex of student politics and an underground Rajputana separatist movement headed by Dukey Bana (Kay Kay Menon). Parallel threads of filial animosity, love and deceit run to take the film to a fitting climax.
For the benefit of non-Rajasthanis, let me digress to explain that ‘sa’ is suffixed to any shortened name to indicate affection mixed respect. Kapil, for instance, can become Kap’sa. Bana is a term of respect for highly placed Rajputs.
The taut screenplay crackles with energy throughout, riveting the audience with all the twists and turns, laced with all emotions – love, deceit, friendship, loyalty, enmity in equal measure. As for the acting, Kay Kay is superb as always. Ransa is surely a find as he leaves the maximum impact. Deepak Dobriyal is also too good as is Mahie Gill. As it happens with Anurag Kashyap’s movies, the film is blessed with a very fine characterization, as a result of which each actor shines in the given role –howsoever small it might be.
But there are two stars which, to me, ride over and above everything else in the film. First is Piyush Mishra, who plays the slightly eccentric and musically inclined elder brother (Prithvi Bana) to the character of Kay Kay Menon. Second is his music score for the film.
As an actor, the effect Piyush has brought on to the screen for this role is just unbelievable. And as the song & music creator, he has outshone himself. Just to give to you a sample, here is the song I liked the most – Ranaji, which is typical of his character in the film – conveying great meaning in seemingly meaningless rambling.
Do go and watch the film.