Khaps and Robbers
Film: Guddu RangeelaCast: Arshad Warsi, Amit Sadh, Ronit Roy, Aditi Rao Hydari
Directed by: Subhash Kapoor
Duration: 2 hrs 4 mins
Rating: * * 1 / 2
In Guddu Rangeela, director Subhash Kapoor pays a nod to the greatest story ever told, Sholay. In fact, it is more than just a nod. He uses the same template to tell a more contemporary story and has also made an effort to make it socially relevant by targeting the antics of the Khap panchayat –Khap ko jala ke raakh kar donga seems to his motto. He manages to pull off some of it while bits of it are a let-down and at least it is not a film that makes you desperate to head out for the exit door.
Set somewhere in Haryana, Guddu (Amit Sadh) and Rangeela (Arshad Warsi) are conmen, a bit like Jai and Veeru. They roam around on a motorcycle with a sidecar in the Yeh Dosti mold and it one point, Rangeela even says “Loha garam hain, maar do hatoda.”
Ronit Roy plays a Billu pehelwan, a politician and khap leader with a mind-set that is older than the Harappa civilization. Samaj (society), rivaaz (traditions) is all that he cares about even if it means killing innocent people. His ire is specially targeted against couples who marry outside their caste.
Meanwhile, Guddu and Rangeela take up an assignment of kidnapping a girl (Aditi Rao Hydari) from Chandigarh and ‘delivering’ her like a package to Delhi. But there is a twist in tale and there is more than meets the eye as far as the girl is concerned.
In the second half, the screenplay hits a few road bumps as the khap gets involved and a woman (Shriswara) who suffers silently her whole life suddenly gets into the rebel mode in a not so convincing manner. A tau at the khap panchayat even asks his fellowmen to keep quiet and let the woman speak, her preachy speech being directed to the audience.
But Guddu-Rangeela has its fun moments too, a couple of cops (Amit Sial and Rajeev Gupta) are hot on the chase of the duo and Gupta with his deadpan expressions evokes a few laughs.
Director Subhash Kapoor needed a tighter script, he certainly has the flair for story-telling and when he borrows styles liberally (like the Tarantino’isque climax) he knows how to keep you engaged.
All such sagas need a good villain and though Ronit Roy has been there done that, fair to say he is still the most menacing bad guy around. The ladies don’t have much of a role to play, symbolically the chief minister of the state is a shown as a woman but Kapoor has his heart in the right place when it comes to making a point about the plight of women and the attitude of extra judicial authorities like the regressive khap panchayats.
Amit Sadh and Arshad Warsi complement each other well. The supporting cast of Brijendra Kala and Dibyendu Bhattacharya make their presence felt. All in all, even if slightly, Guddu Rangeela is above average fare.
Published in The Navhind Times on 5th July 2015