Gulaab Gang has created quite a lot of pre-release stir just before the release because of the case filed by the real Gulaabi Gang members against the film because the makers did not take necessary permission from the members of the Gang. Cynics may look at it as a publicity stunt but whatever it may be, the stunt has worked because the buzz has suddenly increased. Regardless of the off screen controversies, we expect a solid film from the makers. Does the second Madhuri Dixit-Nene release of the year do well? Does the coming together of two 1990s legends work? Let’s dissect. Story: As the title suggests, Gulaab Gang is about a gang of stick-wielding fighting Ninja women from the villages of India.. The film is based on Rajjo (Madhuri Dixit-Nene) who faces prejudices from birth growing up in the chauvinist male-dominated rural spaces of India. As she grows up, she forms a group called Gulaab Gang comprised of similarly oppressed women like her to fight against the prejudices. Trouble arises for her gang, when Rajjo decides to fight the elections against an evil politician named Sumitra Devi (Juhi Chawla) who would go to any length to keep her power from dwindling.
Gulaab Gang Movie Review
Screenplay and Direction: Soumik Sen can’t be blamed for having the best of intentions when he decided to make a film about Sampat Pal and her gang. It all goes terribly wrong because he never quite delves into the gang’s inner workings. He is only able to give us a few set-pieces here and there which tell us how the gang really operates. What’s even more bothersome is that the portrayal is done with a broad-stroke and most of the protagonists are shown to be as holy as the river Ganges and the antagonists as unholy as the colour black. It would have served the film better had Soumik shown us more of the conniving Sumitra (played brilliantly by Juhi Chawla). Also, a film as serious as Gulaab Gang could have done away with the unnecessary song and dance routine.
Gulaab Gang’s technical aspects can’t be faulted. The portrayal of life in the rural areas of India goes well with the set design and the cinematogrphy coming together well. The costume design is shoddy and it doesn’t help that the women seem to wear only Fab India inspired handloom pink sarees. The action sequences also stick out with the gang members fighting it out like Chulbul Pandey (read unrealistic action). The music (also helmed by Soumik Sen) acts more as a detriment to the film.
Acting: Gulaab Gang acts, more or less, as a tribute to the evergreen beauty of Madhuri Dixit-Nene with her occupying screen space from the first to the last scene. She does well and can’t be blamed for the other aspects of the film which falter. She trades in her American accent for a UP accent but it comes across as a fake accessory to the character of Rajjo. But one person who shines and hits it out of the park with her acting is Juhi Chawla. She is faultless as the contriving, scheming evil politician who can go to any length to ascertain her dominance. From shedding fake tears to wrangling it out in verbal duels with Madhuri Dixit-Nene’s Rajjo, she does it all. If there’s one reason you need to watch Gulaab Gang, it is Juhi Chawla’s Sumitra Devi. The other actors like Tannishta Chatterjee, Priyanka Bose and Divya Jagdale all do well in their monotonous roles.
Conclusion: Gulaab Gang has been made with the aim of showcasing womanhood and the power of women in India, but all the gyanbaazi comes across as fake and hypocritical. At the end of the film what we are left with, is a moving montage of real life inspiring women and Juhi Chawla’s fantastic performance. If you really need to know about the story of Sampat Pal and her world famous Gulab Gang watch the documentary Gulabi Gang instead. Steer clear of this half-baked attempt at showcasing Gulaab Gang’s journey. Box Office: Gulaab Gang has taken a below average opening at the box office. A lot will now depend on how the audience take to the film.
- Juhi Chawla’s fantastic portrayal of the fictional evil politician Sumitra Devi
- The set design and cinematography gel well
- Madhuri Dixit plays her part well
- The shaky direction and hypocritical screenplay
- The songs slow down the pace of the film
- The exaggerated action sequences stick out like a sore thumb