Gulaab Gang: Hits And Misses (Hindi): Film Review
On Mar 09, 2014
When word was out about debutant director Soumik Sen’s film Gulaab Gang starring Madhuri Dixit Nene and Juhi Chawla, expectations were sky high. The film also stars a string of other highly talented women including Divya Jagdale, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Priyanka Bose.
Hitting the cinemas right on the eve of Women’s day, seemed the perfect timing to watch a female oriented film of epic proportions. However, the film certainly couldn’t live up to the tremendous hype it built up.
The movie opens with a disclaimer that it has nothing to do with Sampat Pal, a real life woman who formed a group of women vigilantes called Gulabi Gang in Bundelkhand. However, Sen liberally lifts from the life and times of the Gulabi Gang, all from their pink saris to their sticks, for his highly fictionalised work.
Rajjo (Dixit) runs a sort of ashram in a village named Madhopur, where women armed with sickles and axes fight evil and bring justice to all, while she also runs a gurukul where little girls are taught.
Her gang called the Gulaab Gang consists of women, wearing pink saris, who stand up for the downtrodden and rise against villainous cops, husbands and politicians. Rajjo leads the gang to face one villain after the other, punishing each one accordingly until she comes face to face with Sumitra Devi (Juhi Chawla).
Sumitra Devi is devil incarnate, the true definition of evil. The rest of the movie revolves around the fight between the good and the evil and the final victory.
The plot of the movie falls into the age old- told a million times and worn out, pattern of the struggle between the good and the evil. The only difference being that instead of a patriarchal establishment, the traditional hero and villain have a more stylish makeover.
Madhuri Dixit Nene plays the ‘hero’ Rajjo, and Juhi Chawla dons the role of the villain. While Madhuri’s screen presence is as immense and breath-taking as ever, it is quite impossible to imagine her as the rural illiterate Rajjo. Juhi on the other hand is fun to watch as a sour despicable politician. However, her character is so uni-dimensional that it is immediately apparent where it would reach at the end of its tenure.
Director Sen, who is also responsible for the script along with Anubhav Sinha, seems to have given very less thought on stringing together the power house of talents he had with a strong and coherent script. The hugely built up confrontations between Madhuri and Juhi are skimmed through by shallow philosophy, some harsh stares and lip chewing.
The saving grace for the film should have been the performances given by these actresses; however, the script has pulled right out whatever luster that had been put to the characters by the actors.
Amidst a brigade of pink wearing women that wield axes that can see only red, Gulaab Gang seems to have lost its strands in the fictionalization process that it underwent.
The ‘well manicured’ gang go on a very incoherent battle, often times breaking into awkward choreographed song and dance sequences, right before or after a tense scene. Further even the accents of the characters in the fictional village remain inconsistent.
As the credits roll for the film, a tribute is paid to the countless women who have fought and continue to do so, against ill treatment and strive to make life better for fellow beings. On that note, Gulaab Gang could be celebrated as a female centric movie that but only partially accolades the efforts of such women.