Gulaab Gang : Film Review

Cast: Madhuri Dixit Nene, Juhi Chawla; Director: Soumik Sen; Rating:** 1/2

Friday, March 07, 2014   |  Copyright: IANS  |  Comments 9 Comments  |  4802 Views

Cast: Madhuri Dixit Nene, Juhi Chawla; Director: Soumik Sen; Rating:** 1/2

Women in pink sarees dot the lush rural landscape. They want revenge. Men, all raunchy paunchy rapists, leery bribe seekers and rowdy merry makers, get their comeuppance in the hands of these pink ladies armed with sickles, sticks, knives and gumption.

Director Soumik Sen's film is designed as a flamboyant loud and message-driven film on women empowerment.In parts it looks like a government-sponsored documentary on rural development with Madhuri in it to ensure people care and respond to the message.

This would be as good as any place to reveal that the makers' claims that the film is NOT based on Sampat Pal's missionary zeal, is blatantly untrue. From the colour of the saree to the whole idea of making the male species look and feel really really saree..sorry, sorrry...Bro, this is Sampat's kingdom all the way.

If you have any doubts on that score, check out Nishtha Jain's excellent documentary Gulaabi Gang clevery released to preempt this imposter's endeavour.

The problem is Madhuri Dixit hardly looks like the rural Mata Hari-Om. She tries hard. Oh boy! Does she try! The Yankee twang is put away firmly from public view and replaced by a sexy village tongue that rolls out stinging jibes at corrupt netas, male and female villains who enunciate cheesy lines with the lip-smacking relish of junior artistes in Prakash Jha's trademark parables of rural oppression.

Trouble is, debutant director Soumik Sen's vision lacks the socio-historical perspective of Jha's cinema. Sen's conscience bleeds all over the place. He seems to invest a great deal of idealism in his saga of girl power. But he forgets to apply brakes on his narrative so that very often the plot hurls forward in uncontrollable spasms of sarcastic stock-taking.

Scene after scene pitching the smug social reformer Rajjo (Madhuri) against the conniving politician Sumitra (Juhi) is piled on to the plot. The effort to make the battle look epic in scale is weighed down by the cornucopia of cliches that flows out of the writer's pen liberally, as though the writer believes the corrupt can be vanquished simply by portraying them as cardboard cut-outs, like the ones that greet netas at public rallies.

Madhuri has her moments. Her face is definitely more mobile and emotive here than it was in her other recent release "Dedh Ishqiya" where she stood strangely sterile and detached in her redolent ambience. But her performance and demeanour are inconsistent. Some of the actresses in her girl gang like Tannishta Chatterjee, Priyanka Bose and Divya Jagdale are interesting in their enthusiasm to blend into the theme.

Juhi Chawla as Madhuri's adversary chews on her lips furiously to appear evil, laughs fiendishly at any sign of disobedience among her minions and throws tantrums when an aging bureaucrat calls her by her first name. Juhi is interesting to watch in her diabolic avatar but a bit too eager to prove her point.

The same holds of the film. It has its heart in the right place. It portrays rural oppression of women with honesty. But the brutality is brittle and sometime laughable. The women in the Gulaabi gang are shown to often break into songs composed by the director and dances choreographed by Saroj Khan. They are more irritants than militant.

During these intermittent recreational breaks, the ladies look like unmoored avatars of Ketan Mehta's beautiful gallery of rebellious women in "Mirch Masala". The transition from pink to red is dreadfully self-conscious. The director assembles a series of striking visuals in the brutal rural landscape. But the characters never quire blend into the fabric of corruption.

The confrontations between Madhuri and Juhi are stymied by awkwardly worded verbal 'jubalbandis' which tell us these two women are on opposite of the wall of morality. But not much of their contrasting characters actually translates into an engaging drama. Characters are shown to be manipulated, insulted, poisoned and attacked. But their bearing never suggests any drama and conflict that would leave us with a deep impact.

Maybe the ladies of the pink brigade should have worn less chic blouses. Maybe their fingernails needed to look less manicured. Even the external detailing is haphazard, as though the director thought investing in a cause and a conscience were enough insurance against signs of wear and tear.

But sometimes caring is just not enough.


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  • Posted on: 12 March 2014 at 11:29ampkarnwal

    this movie is average. both actress can give more better then this.see mre on this

  • Posted on: 09 March 2014 at 11:10pmLOVE_DMG

    looks like the writer of this article was asleep during the movie. This movie had so many messages and meanings. thso stupid moves what make million just because of women dancing half naked and guys shirtless. people if you gonna watch this movie, watch but don't expect some prince charming story form this movie.

  • Posted on: 09 March 2014 at 5:28pmkhisku

    Juhi chawla was phenomenal in this movie! overall the move was average, but her performance more than makes up for it... watch it just for her!

    Edited on:09 March 2014 at 5:27pm

  • Posted on: 09 March 2014 at 1:48pmSVK1234

    Writer of this article either really hates women, or he didn't watch the movie.

    Women Empowerment.. Go Women GO!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 member(s) Liked the above comment :
    zarine
  • Posted on: 09 March 2014 at 1:30pmkhankiran

    your article is really crap...you should recheck this and as well watch movie again...i donot know what happened to poeple wasting time on those crap movies which are earning crores...with out any reason...and which are worht to watch poeple like you are doing suhc pathetic job...madhuri and juhi..thier dialogues are awesome...

    3 member(s) Liked the above comment :
    zarine, SVK1234, LOVE_DMG
  • Posted on: 09 March 2014 at 6:22amKhushi96

    awesome movie i would give this review 0 only common think of gulaabi gang was the color pink the rest doesn't even resemble real life and i agree with others go watch the movie. MADHURI was amazing as always. After such a long time indian cinema have proved with this movie female leads are enough to carry a movie no heros needed :p Madhuri and Juhi both did justice to their roles. Everyone go see GULAAB GANG POWER OF PINK <br/>Madhuri figh sequence were mind blowing she was fantastic. <br/>

    Edited on:09 March 2014 at 6:27am

    4 member(s) Liked the above comment :
    khankiran, Madzz07, zarine, SVK1234
  • Posted on: 09 March 2014 at 4:12amJyo.

    This review is a joke!! The movie is really REALLY well put and Madhuri's and Juhi's performances were flaw-freaking-less. And no, not everything is negative. This is a two and a half hour movie that is targeting the negatives! DON'T DENY IT MAN, things like these DO happen in India, and at large. They are just very well hidden. They have also got the positives of a very dedicated Police Officer, the Mukhiya who cannot do anything but watch because he is powerless, but does try his best. And seriously, you think Madhuri wasn't consistent? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Please PLEASE go and rewatch this movie. She couldn't have done it better. Her character was introduced as a stone because of all the beatings and oppression she had suffered as a kid, hence the expressions. I could go on, but whatever. Don't trust this review. I wouldn't! It's because of reviews like that movies as amazing as these don't earn and run well in India while movies that are stupid and have NO goddamn storyline earn hundreds of crores. Such a shame!!

    3 member(s) Liked the above comment :
    Madzz07, Khushi96, SVK1234
  • Posted on: 08 March 2014 at 10:06pmMadzz07

    wat a review...LOL..!!!

    THE MOVIE IS GREAT...Both Madhuri and Juhi are AWESOME...!!
    Gulaab Gang...A Must Watch :) :)
    have seen the movie...and aftr 3hrs every1 came with a smile and yeah the message...Go GULAABI...Love u Mads nd Juhi...you Rocked.. :) :)

    4 member(s) Liked the above comment :
    suganvj, SVK1234, Khushi96, Jyo.
  • Posted on: 08 March 2014 at 8:52amChitra89

    2 and 1/2 star? really? I thought this movie going to be awesome. Can someone who all ready watch it tell me how was the movie? Because I really want to watch this movie.

    4 member(s) Liked the above comment :
    Madzz07, Khushi96, SVK1234, The-Voice

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