You are here

Gulaal – movie review

A brilliant take on manipulative politics


Gulaal, movie review

Gulaal is set in Rajpur a fictional city of Rajasthan, where a member of the erstwhile royal family stakes claim to the land of Rajasthan and wants to go back to the days of royalty which challenges the very idea of democracy.

Similar to a Shakespearean fable of desire, lost identities, love, greed, violence, murder, deceit, power and innocence, Gulaal is a film inspired by poetry; the forgotten male, macho world of power, corruption and greed, where women are just means to an end while nobody can be trusted. It’s a film that brings back poetry to cinema, songs that inspire us, shake us; sometimes a thriller, a drama, but poignant, shocking and provocative.

The film Gulaal is about an innocent student Dileep (Raj Singh Chaudhary) who comes to Jaipur to study, accompanied by his faithful servant Bhanwar. Here he comes in contact with Rananjay Singh “Ransa” (Abhimanyu Singh) a contemporary intelligent, sensitive young man who refuses to abide traditions; his ideologies clash with his father’s, the local raja, Jadwal (Pankaj Jha ) with old school of thought he is the college goon who rags Dileep; Anuja (Jessie Randhawa) a professor ragged with Dileep; despair brings both together and a strong emotional bond develops between them. Dukey Bana (Kay Kay Menon) a powerful local figure who leads an army of radical Rajputs struggling to get Rajputana back from the Government of India challenging the very idea of democracy); Kiran (Ayesha Mohan) uses Dileep for power and personal interest).

Against a backdrop of local political intrigue, Gulaal begins with a Rajput conglomerate gaining strengthen as Dukey Bana and a few ex-Royals convince a reluctant Ransa to contest for the college elections on behalf of the Rajputana party; Ransa and Kiran battle it for General Secretary’s post. The rivalry between the two gangs intensifies and Ransa is forced to withdraw, which he resists. Eventually this leads to his murder by Karan (Kiran’s brother and Rasna’s illegitimate sibling). Using the sympathy wave, Dileep is compelled to contest elections in Ransa’s place and made to win.

After losing the elections Kiran tries winning Dileep trust, gets close to him and pretends to fall in love. As he tries to fit into the shoes of the General Secretary an insecure Dileep gets emotionally dependent on Kiran and distance grows between him and Anuja. Dileep finds himself trapped in political maneuvers and realizes that this is not what he had wanted. It dawns to him that he is being used by Dukey; when Dileep confronts Dukey, he is faced with a horrifying truth!

Dukey Bana is masterminding a Rajputana movement, to have a separate state ruled by Rajputs. In a gamut of Red faces (Gulaal is put over the faces to mask their true identity), Dileep sees the truth behind Dukey and his actions. So Dileep decides to resign from the post of the General Secretary.

Dileep resigns and Kiran takes charge. As soon as in power, she refuses to meet Dileep and tries to get close to Dukey using her feminine charm. A lovelorn and rejected Dileep gets more and more frustrated, abusive and violent in desperation. This behavior creates a distance between Dileep and the people who truly love and understand him.

Blinded by his love for Kiran, Dileep goes into frenzy becoming a sorry and inevitable victim of circumstances. The whole madness around Dileep intensifies; sense of conspiracy and feeling of a fake unrequited love push him to the edge… Gulaal races to an unforgettable climax… out of the faces painted in Gulaal, a face is revealed… the face of the new leader…

One can not expect easy plots or armchair cinema from Anurag Kashyap who is clearly one of the most compelling directors in bollywood. The characters and nature of his scenes in Gulaal are so compelling that you cannot help but accept his argument.

Gulaal is a heavy, brain-consuming yet engrossing film has fiery scenes and explosive characters.

Cast of Gulaal:
Dukey Bana – Kay Kay Menon
Dileep Singh – Raj Singh Chaudhary
Rananjay Singh “Ransa” – Abhimanyu Singh
Jadhwal – Pankaj Jha
Karan – Aditya Srivastava
Anuja – Jesse Randhawa
Bhati – Deepak Dobriyal
Kiran – Ayesha Mohan
Madhuri – Mahi Gill
Prithvi Bana – Piyush Mishra
Bhanwar Singh – Mukesh Bhatt
Dukey Bana’s wife – Jyoti Dogra

Credits & Crew of Gulaal:
Presented by: Zee Limelight
Music & Lyrics: Piyush Mishra
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Written by Raja Chaudhary
Story & Screenplay: Anurag Kashyap
Music by Piyush Mishra
Cinematography Rajeev Ravi
Editing by Aarti Bajaj
Distributed by Zee Limelight
Gulaal, movie review