I watched Gulaal and could not stop short of penning my afterthoughts.
Gulaal is a raging mix of small town fallacies, vicious power struggle, relentless focus towards disillusioning motifs of values, and run towards self preservation. Nepotism driving people to man slaughter, to death. The movie is a hydra headed, multifarious war cry towards youth’s debauched snarl. A testimony that youth is power indeed, and thus, needs nothing less than a rebellion to justify its mere existence. An extremist view at youth’s craving for change. A decadent reality, albeit true in snort and shape.
Stellar performances by Abhimanyu Singh as the self-disinherited royal Rananjay, Kay Kay Menon as the local Rajput warlord “Dukey Bana”, Raj Chaudhary as the unexpected protagonist Dilip Singh make the movie a tight watch.
The most notable performance came from the stage veteran, Piyush Mishra, who essays a deranged “sutradhaar” of the otherwise megalomaniacal plot. A manic performance that dazzles beyond compare. With his burlesque rendition of Bismil’s “Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna” and war whooping “Aarambh hai prachand”, he rattles the screenplay and keeps temper high, very high. The music is one of the key characters in the movie, as the score broils the sequential progression of the characters and gives them provocative company towards their disarrayed destiny.
Unlike most politically strewn movies that delve into the decaying moral fabric of our society and impinge on how corruption and greed remain to be only dualities, Gulaal makes no such attempts. Its plot is devoid of any moral judgment, it is more of a reflection.
The aspect that smacks you to focus is the nauseous symbolism running parallel throughout the plot. When the disgraced lecturer (Jessy Randhawa) walks into her class, the word “Nihilism” on the blackboard greets her. The very scene spins the movie on its axis and we are thrust into a world of relentless anarchy and serial annihilation of power blocks. Violence is not a sin, but merely a solitary grip on self preservation. Or even the “Democracy Bar”, the place where the Ransa “the heir who has left his aristocratic loom” resides makes one wonder about the hidden meanings in each frame in Kashyap’s Gulaal.
Kashyap pulls no stop and pretends no excuse for this in your-face-gut-wrenching power play. Aarti Kashyap’s editing is as rapid and as it ceaselessly follows evolving situations, often as audience we are gasping for breath.
More than anything else, Gulaal reminds us of the volcanic power of our national language “Hindi” and its various dialects. Piyush Mishra’s stark poetry and its soul blazoning rendition can make even a stone stand upright and search for reason, search for redemption. Such is the potency of those crafted words sung in almost a pauper’s daze. It transcends cinematic values and inducts the rawness of a street play and the nudity of stage production.
All in all a must watch for every youth. A lesson to learn… channelize energy, it is endless and insurmountable.