Written by: George Pacheco on July 31st, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: India, 2012
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Writers: Akhilesh Jaiswal, Anurag Kashyap, Sachin K. Ladia, Zeishan Quadri
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vipin Sharma, Rajkummar Rao, Reema Sen
BluRay released: July 14th, 2015
Approximate running times: 318 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Hindi
BluRay Release: Cinelicious Pics
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95
Gangs of Wasseypur has been riding a strong wave of critical and fan fame since the film’s release in 2012, and for good reason, for director Anurag Kashyap’s lengthy gangster epic is one seriously glorious slice of modern cinema.
The film owes an obvious debt to Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather saga as it chronicles the tumultuous history of two vicious, yet tight knit crime families who are wed together in a blood feud which lasts throughout generations. There’s an immense sense of style at play here, but at the same time Gangs of Wasseypur is a technically amazing film which makes the most of angles, lighting, location and fluid camera work. Indeed, the cinematography of Rajeev Ravi almost works as a character in and of itself, as we the audience follow each member of the Khan and Singh families as they weave their way through marriages, families, alliances, betrayal and more, all impeccably captured by the keen eyes of Ravi and Kashyap.
Elsewhere, there’s layers of characterization at work here within the screenplay (co-written by Kashyap), as expert narration and exquisite performances ensure that the bevy of individuals here never become too lost in the mix or difficult to follow, while at the same time bringing us close to the complexities, fears and passions which fuel each side of this power struggle. The dialogue is brutal at times and hilarious at others, but always smart and effective, while the same can also be said of the simultaneously stylish and occasionally brutal violence, which can either annihilate the audience with its visceral power, or coolly seduce with a certain macabre beauty.
Speaking of seduction, the connection between Bollywood cinema music has been well documented, and Wasseypur is no exception, as sequences are beautifully scored with both classic Bollywood tunes, modern songs and a dark, brooding musical backdrop which combines a haunting main piano theme with more punctual electronic stings. The lyrical content of these songs are also very important with regards to how they relate to the characters, particularly that of Faizal Khan, with whom we spend very much of the film’s second half.
This brings us to the film’s length, which clocks in at over five hours. Now, Bollywood cinema has always been known for its musical numbers and the need to extend films’ running time in order to accommodate them, but this time the length of Wasseypur is due solely to the amount of time we spend following these characters lives, and how close we become to them as a result. Yes, it’s true that Gangs of Wasseypur is a long sit, but it honestly doesn’t feel that way, thanks to a strong sense of pacing with this most dynamic of stories.
Thankfully, however, the film has been split on two discs here, with each section of Wasseypur working just fine as two stand alone sections, making it very easy to watch half, then return a bit later to finish up the tale. Just make you sure don’t let the length of this film scare you off, for Gangs of Wasseypur is, without question, one of the finest films to hit home video in 2015.
Cinelicious Pics presents Gangs of Wasseypur in a 1080 progressive widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The colors are gorgeous, saturated and brought in stunning high definition on two Blu-Ray discs. The film’s audio quality is similarly strong, with nicely translated English subtitles which often specify exactly who is speaking, as well as their relationship to other characters in the film. There are a couple of typos in the film’s second half, but nothing to get miffed about, for sure.
Extras just include a commentary track with Kashyap, as well as members of the film’s cast, the composer, lyricist and production crew. This may seem scant, but given the film’s length, there’s a wealth of information offered here, from a wide variety of perspectives. It’s a suitably epic package for an epic film, and one worth of immediate investigation. Gangs of Wasseypur receives the highest 10kBullets recommendation. A must see.