“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi
Sometimes even the most painful betrayals have their way of bringing us closer to life and love. Gangster – a love story, is an exceptional love story – painted in colors of blue, where lovers seek togetherness, only to realize the meaning of true love beyond mortality.
Anurag Basu is well known for his movie Barfi – India’s Oscar entry for an international movie in 2012. Unlike Barfi, a movie lifted off Charlie Chaplin’s black and white slapstick style comedies, Anurag’s 2006 Hindi movie Gangster is an exception in its own right.
Gangster was debut movie for the four-time National Award winner Kangana Ranaut. A rare find by Mahesh Bhatt, Kangana has been delivering raw and power-packed performances ever since, but Gangster is still one of her best work at mere 17 years of age.
The movie tells the story of three lives entangled is love, betrayal, and redemption. Daya (played by Shiney Ahuja), the notorious gangster falls in love with a simple-hearted bar-dancer, Simran (played by Kangana). Unaware of the dangerous, yet addictive lifestyle of gangsters in Mumbai – the unlikely couple is constantly on the run hiding from domestic Indian and international police. Simran, whose only dream is to start a family life, is constantly picking up the pieces of her broken dream as she tries to build a life in dilapidated buildings, isolated apartments, and 5-star hotels.
Love and passion ooze from every scene in the movie. Daya hardly looks up at his beloved, as she is forced to dance around lecherous men to make a living, but when he does the intensity in his eyes is searing. He never makes love to her because they were unmarried, yet passion is palpable in the way their bodies move together.The most romantic dialog in the movie is simply – “let’s go home!” It’s as if the vulnerable girl inside you is waiting for someone to take her home where all promises of the heart are held sacred.
The movie shot in flashback, shows Simran love lorn, aching for Daya and their adopted child – a family she eventually loses in a gang and police shooting. Daya runs for his life and eventually leaves Simran to deal with the mess called life all alone in Seoul, South Korea. Drowning in pain, loneliness and alcoholism, Simran finds intense reignited passion in the arms of an undercover intelligence agent – Akash (played by Imran Hashmi). Simran falls in love quickly and in a cliched turn of events, Daya returns to find her physically and emotionally involved with Akash.
Ghosts of your past never leave you and life inevitably completes a full circle. The man who couldn’t be vanquished by life, was broken down by the betrayal of his woman. The woman who left the world for Daya but couldn’t make a home with him, the woman who waited endlessly for Daya, but Daya never came back to her for more than a day.
In an ultimate betrayal, Simran calls Akash to discuss her and Daya’s secret whereabouts and to inform Akash about their unborn love child. What unwinds is immense pain and pure carnage. No one wins when good intentions are met with betrayal!
Watching Gangster the second time was a bigger treat, you noticed the unnoticed. The smug look in Akash’s eyes when he lays in bed with Simran that was once reserved for Daya – the Gangster he’s out to get at any cost. The disgust in Akash’s eyes for Simran as she passed out inebriated trying to vanquish her misery. The pain and intensity in Daya and Simran’s eyes till the end because they lived their entire lives hoping to consummate their love. There’s only one question I was left wondering about, did Akash never feel love to Simran? Or was he so blinded as an intelligence agent that he felt no compassion for a gangster girl and his unborn child till the end?
The Stellar Performances
Kangana has been a controversy’s child and epitomizes the trials of a modern woman – living with her heart on her sleeve but on her own terms. Her character in Gangster is similar – vulnerable but tough as rock for things she values most – love, her child and her man!
Shiney Ahuja entered the movie industry will accolades and critical acclaim. He was charged with rape in 2009 – though the case ended up turning into a mangled he-said-she-said mess. Having said that, I have to confess as an actor, Shiney had immense potential and I was a big fan of his acting chops.
There’s one thing Mahesh Bhatt does very well, he writes stories about love and betrayal so well – it’s the stuff for suckers for wretched romance. I absolutely loved the blue filters turning Seoul in morose and languish, this movie shreds the heart apart! Women in Bhatt’s movies are typically brilliantly portrayed and Kangana shines bright in her first ever Hindi movie.
The movie closely resembles Monica Bedi and Abu Salem’s (the notorious gangster from Dawod’s gang) romance that went wrong. I found this interview in Filmfare with Monica so revealing about her spending romantic times with the gangster, getting caught in Portugal and being extradited to India.
The music composed by Pritam is truly soothing and timeless. Bheegi Bheegi is a wonderful rendition of the popular 80’s Bengali song “Prithibi” – originally composed by MG Krosswindz and performed by Bonnie Chakraborty.
Here are links to some of the best songs from the movie:
Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai