Daddy Review by Indicine
Aseem Ahulwalia who created the indie film Miss Lovely makes his foray into commercial cinema with this film. He gets the technical aspects of the world he’s trying to portray perfectly but he misses the mark by a big distance when trying to showcase the emotional aspects of the lead character and his family members. The viewer is shown a glossed up version of the real events where the motivations of the gangster is justified through his poverty but maybe the makers should have embraced the full blown violence of the lead character without any apprehensions. It would have made for a much better and a more impactful film. Daddy doesn’t work on any level, unfortunately.
Daddy Review by Bollywood Hungama
DADDY begins on a shocking note and you expect the film to be a fast-paced, well-preserved gangster drama. The film however falls a bit immediately but still, the scenes of the ‘B.R.A. gang’ are engaging. But as the film progresses, it becomes too confusing and incoherent. Too many things are packed in the film’s 135 minutes run time. Also there are far too many characters. One fails to understand who exactly is the villain and if it’s the system that’s the villain, then it’s not established very well. It is mentioned that poverty drove Arun to crime but one never gets to see his family struggling due to poor economic conditions. Moreover, the film suffers from another strange problem – the background score and sound design at places is too loud because of which certain dialogues are inaudible.
Daddy Review by Prasanna D Zore on Rediff
Bollywood, no doubt, along with contemporary media played a pivotal role in glamourising the Mumbai underworld since 1985 with their larger-than-life characters, more Robin Hood-like than they actually were, but with Daddy, a biopic on Arun Gulab Gawli, a mill worker’s son who metamorphoses into a feared underworld don and runs his own corporate mafiosi, director Ashim Ahluwalia takes too many liberties with facts and litters the 135 minute saga with plot holes.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
It’s also the thickly-populated circuitous plot, which goes back and forth in time, which comes in the way of a solid crime thriller cum study of the making of a gangster. I ended up drinking in every single frame, and searching for a full film.
Review by Meena Iyer on The Times Of India
Since most of this is documented, the screenplay of this biopic offers no surprises. At times, it even feels like you’re being lead from one point to another, almost blindfolded. Ahluwalia deliberately adopts a flat narrative and takes the viewer through the dark, gritty world with minimum dramatization. As a result, there are fewer earpiercing emotional outbursts, but also fewer moments of dread. Once your eyes get adjusted to the drab chawls and dimly-lit gullies, where the gangs operate like ghosts, chased by just one greedy, over-ambitious cop, Vijaykar Nitin(Nishikant), you become complacent watching the crime patrol episode. The sepia-tone/minimum-colour frames stay muted and never leap at you. As a result, you don’t feel the tension, even when some brutal killings play out. However, it is infuriating that most of the actors mumble their dialogue and you have to strain hard to hear their intention.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
Ahluwalia romanticises his hero and then serves the usual formula gangster fare –an item number, several gun battles and close-ups of emotional moments. Where he fails, however, is keeping it all coherent. The storyline does not quite match up to the gritty, dark entertainer that Daddy aspires to be with its sepia-toned frames. The backstories of criminals often make for gripping films but Daddy fails there as well. With a sloppy storyline and over-dramatic dialogues, there is nothing fresh to watch in Daddy except for Arjun Rampal’s performance and the film’s surprise package – Farhan Akhtar as Gawli’s bête noire. Unfortunately, even they are not on top of their game.
Review by Letty Marian Abraham on Mid-Day India
It’s a risk to not follow Bollywood’s tried-and-tested formula. While it does win Rampal brownie points, this will not be enough to turn the film into a success at the box office. It can’t exactly be termed as Gawli’s biopic, because so much of his life is missing from the film. Nor can one say that it is entertaining as it offers nothing new. Watch it to see Rampal in one of his best performances till date, for a story without frills and only if you have a penchant for crime dramas.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
The movie feels like they have crammed too many things into the movie, but you know that the filmmaker is being clever by not giving you time to think. There is action, action and more action, even though Gawli himself is laconic and deliberate. This film is different (and is not just the strange prosthetic nose which makes the gorgeous Arjun Rampal look scary) and you will enjoy the difference.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
If you like slow and dark crime dramas, then Daddy is certainly for you, but if you are seeking a pacy period thriller, then you will be highly disappointed. Daddy is nothing but one of the boring chapters of a history book.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
As for the film itself, it is quite technically sound right from the first frame itself. Be it costumes or locations or cinematography or the background score, Daddy is an absolute winner on all counts. What works against the film is Ashim’s trick of using various narrators to present Gawli’s story as it tends to make the plot lose its crispness and stretches it. Had the filmmaker stuck to a sole narrator or just let the plot unfold without the help of a narrator, the film may have moved at a desirable pace. Also, though Rampal had sworn that the film will not glorify Gawli, ‘Daddy’ does tend to be tilted in favour of the former don and presents him as a reluctant gangster rather than an active member of the Mumbai underworld. Also, the second half is somewhat stretched and could have done with some editing.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
If this was Arjun Rampal’s debut as an actor, he would go on to compete with the best in the years to come. Perennially criticised for his ability to convey a limited range of emotions, Rampal’s found his match — a character who reveals nothing from his demeanour. An opaque operator who lets the trigger do the talking and the knife do the stabbing. But even so, under layers of prosthetics, Rampal packs in a decidedly restrained performance and dare we say, a mature one too. If Nishikant Kamat gave up making films and took up acting fulltime, it would be a great career move. Playing a determined officer of the law, he slips into the character with inimitable passion and his physical transformation ensures you don’t even recognise him. Akhtar as the sitaphal cream-slurping bhai about town is appropriately mellow. In a decisive tone, when dialogues roll out of his mouth like a slow train chugging into a platform, one is assured that he means business.
Review by Ritika Handoo on Zeenews
Arun Gawli became ‘Daddy’ at a critical juncture in his life and how a local gangster from 70s and 80s was hailed as the Robinhood of Dagdi is what this film tells you. There are many facts presented in the way which will leave you thinking about the kind of nexus that exists between the police and the politicians or gangster for that matter, but answers we get not. We have been shown the personal life of ‘Daddy’ and how he tried a couple of times to lead a normal life sans guns, goons and bloodshed but could not. There are not many songs in this crime drama and thankfully so.
Review by Tushar Joshi on DNA India
Director Ashim Ahluwalia successfully recreates the 80s and 90s of Mumbai which helps the film look real. A lot of attention has been paid to make Daddy a technically sound movie. Dagdi Chawl which later turns into Gawli’s fortress has been beautifully captured by the camera. A performance heavy film, Daddy is a challenge that Arjun Rampal tackles with utmost ease. His scenes in the second half, where he plays the older Gawli, are remarkable. Also, he avoids falling into the trap of making his gangster a caricature. The supporting cast of Nishikant Kamat, Anand Ingale, and Rajesh Shringarpure are all apt in their roles. There is ample tension and thrill in the second half when the pace picks up to keep you engaged.
Review by Ananya Bhattacharya on India Today
The problem with making a film on the Mumbai underworld is the sheer number of films that have already been made on it (we have Haseena Parkar arriving in two weeks). True, no film till date has concentrated on Arun Gawli’s life, but it presents nothing extra or nothing more than we don’t already know. It tells you nothing about how this man swept off the elections or why he was so loved in Dagdi Chawl. The rivalries, the power struggle between Dawood and Gawli, everything has happened in the last few decades and there is a lot of material on it. Daddy says nothing that is not already there is public domain. For a subject like this, therefore, the real feat lied in how you told the story. Daddy, sadly, is gripping only in parts. Watch this gangster drama for Arjun Rampal’s heartfelt performance. He breathes as Arun Gawli in Daddy. But don’t go into the theatre expecting to learn anything eye-opening about the Mumbai underworld. You will come back disappointed.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
On technical grounds it’s a brilliantly crafted drama that posses an extra eye for details, Jackie Shroff’s vintage Red & White cigarette ad at the back of a salon, those colored telephones, the dark shanty allies of Mumbai slums, etc is pitch perfect. Supporting cast chips in with some valuable support. Aishwarya Rajesh as Asha Gawli is fine. Anand Ingale is fantastic, Rajesh Shringarpore is earnest. Cinematography by Jessica Lee Gagne and Pankaj Kumar is brilliant and the way the movie gets its sepia tone is outstanding. Parul Sondh’s production design and Prashant Singh’s casting deserves special mention. One more irony, DADDY’s rivals in the movie bring in some surprises, Farhan Akhtar as Gawli’s rival is menacing throughout with that glares visible in those fashionable goggles. Nishikant Kamat as the cop after Gawli for years is brilliant and of course Vijay (Purnanand Wandekar) is incredible in giving the film that single defining moment.
Review by IANS on NDTVMovies
Strain hard to listen. The sounds of death, violence, corruption and decay are omniscient in this saga of a man who would rather be a messiah. The problem here is there are so many characters colonizing Gawli’s perverse kingdom played by actors who don’t act, and the unsparing editing (Deepa Bhatia, Navnita Sen Dutta) that won’t let the audience breathe in the toxic fumes of fury for long. Consequently, many of the dark disturbing characters are lost to us. So here’s what we do: watch the film very, very closely. It is a difficult but finally hugely rewarding experience. The performances are so minutely non-bravura that the characters are so into their world of self-destruction that we are left looking in without ever being allowed to be part of the design of doom.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
There were other elements in the story that seemed more gratuitious than the need of the situation. These mostly related to the scenes with sexual intimacy. Given the context, none of them made them were a necessary part of the story. Fortunately, you have believable performances across the board. The action-heavy nature of the film doesn’t necessarily need a huge variety of emoting, but Arjun Rampal, Nishikant Kamat, Aishwarya Rajesh, Rajesh Shringarpore keep things real.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
Ahluwalia stages some impressive scenes, particularly a visceral elevator shootout, and one in which a chillum is cleverly smuggled into Gawli’s jail cell. Rampal, who has produced the film and is credited as one if its writers, looks eerily like the man he plays, particularly in his later years, sporting his trademark Gandhian topi, gold watch, and white kurta pyjama. It’s a shrewd performance, relying almost entirely on body language over histrionics, and the actor doesn’t disappoint. Less effective is a surprise cameo in the role of Maqsood. It’s a case of bad casting; a weak performance reduces the part to caricature. Thankfully Ahluwalia assembles a fine ensemble to fill out supporting roles, and they add to the authentic texture of the film.
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