Movie Review: Gangster ...


By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Film: "Gangster"; Cast: Shiney Ahuja, Emraan Hashmi and Kangna;

Director: Anurag Basu; Rating: ***

It is not just heart, it also Seoul. The crowded lanes and the

festive festering decadent setting add considerably to the intensity

level of this high-pitched drama of love passion, jealousy, sacrifice

and atonement.

"Gangster" is not really a film about homicidal crime. Nor is it a

film that dwells stylishly on the glossy exteriors of the high life. It

focuses on the stark interiors of hearts that ruthlessly seek love in

relentlessly self-serving places.

In what is possibly the toughest role written for a female newcomer

Kangna stumbles across a minefield of volatile emotions.

Never shy of exposing the inner-most contours of a lacerated heart

and soul, writer Mahesh Bhatt gives us a love triangle between a girl

on the brink Simran (Kangna), her gangster-lover (Shiney Ahuja) and the

man (Emraan Hashmi) who comes into her life to put balm on her frayed


Director Anurag Basu captures the desperate anxieties of the

three-way passion-play with high-voltage sequences each done in lush

untried colours of life's most complicated trajectory.

There is a curvaceous feeling to every swing and swerve of this

dramatically done plot.

The narrative offers surprises all through, with heart-stopping

moments of suspense to punctuate the terse pauses between one dramatic

high and another. It is hard to guess which way the feverish plot would

finally go.

Many moments capturing the girl's anguished dilemma remain clearly

etched as illustrations of director Basu's ability to hold the dramatic

pitch at a high decibel without toppling over the weight of


Specially memorable is the gangster Daya's arrest at the Seoul

station. As he shrieks and protests against the injustice of a justice

system that turns his love into a mocking betrayal - the narrative

tells us how difficult it is to take a moral stand on the question of

right and wrong in the matter of love and morality.

Stylishly shot by cinematographer Bobby Singh, "Gangster" is a

gripping tale where all three principal actors turn in competent


Emraan's strait-laced supportive-suitor's act is well balanced

against Shiney's smouldering crime-lord turned repentant lover's


But the surprise package is debutante Kangna. From burnt-out

alcoholic, to a woman in love and finally a woman willing to pay the

ultimate price for her heart's peace... the girl goes through the

complex gamut of emotions with a perceptible lack of


Like Bhatt's early films, "Gangster" takes us to the darkest

recesses of the human heart where the devil and the saint are slyly

affiliated. It is a film that isn't afraid to let its feelings


And that's what makes it notches above the run-of-the-mill

bang-bang-kiss-kiss fare.

So is this really mobster Abu Salem's love story? By the end of

"Gangster" you really don't care. The characters go far beyond the

source material. Rating: 2.5