Guns and Gulaabs Review: A daring dope of humor, thrills and dark comedy
What: Guns and Gulaabs - Show runners Raj and DK whip up a whacky and marvellous show yet again with a flush of 90’s nostalgia in the Badlands infested with guns and roses.
Guns and Gulaabs Review
The duo is back! Yes, Raj and DK who enthralled us with Farzi a couple of months back have landed again with their black comedy “Guns and Gulaabs” which is set in the 90s and the Badlands of Uttarakhand - in a town which goes by the moniker Gulaabgunj, infested with crime, cartels and against the backdrop of the opium trade.
The title couldn’t have been more apt, may be “Gaanja” could have been the middle term for this wild and fascinating tale of war and rosy-mushy romance. It chronicles the opium war between two gangs – the Ganchis from Gulaabgunj, with the patriarch, Bade Ganchi (late Satish Kaushik) and his worthless son, Junior Ganchi aka Jugnu (Adarsh Gaurav) and Nabeed from Sherpur.
When Ganchi’s right hand man, Babu Tiger is killed by a contract assassin Aatmaram (a deliciously devil Gulshan Devaiah) appointed by Naveed, Babu’s son Tipu (Rajkummar Rao), a lovelorn auto-mechanic joins the gang. The arrival of the narcotics cop, Arjun Verma (Dulquer Salman) with his family comprising his wife (Pooja A Gor) and daughter, Jo (Suhani Sethi) causes a stir in the town.
Tension erupts when a high stakes deal approaches, with the senior Ganchi struggling for life in the ICU and the inept and inexperienced Jugnu calling the shots with Sukanto, a businessman (played by Rajatabha Dutta). Meanwhile, a timid and perpetually petrified Tipu swears revenge when his friend is killed by Aatmaram in a showdown.
Raj and DK, who have co-written the script with Suman Kumar, infuse generous quirks and dopes of hilarity and blend it with romance and nostalgia to create an entirely engrossing world of the misfits engulfed in chaos and complications. In roles that deserve individual spin-offs, Rajkummar Rao and Gulshan Devaiah leave you in awe and splits till your belly aches. Rao imbues Tipu with an unmistakable inspired idiocy and an inherent decency sprouts in him whenever he comes across the love his life, Chandralekha, an English school teacher whom he fondly addresses as Lekha, played by TJ Bhanu.
Lekha has also spelled her magic and charm on Gangaram, a wayward student who forms a troika with Laalkrishna and another boy in the school. Their innocent ramblings spark the memories of teenage crush, forming a parallel narrative to the central plotline with intelligent convergences, against the beautiful and hilly landscape.
As 4-cut-Aatmaram who is divinely and devilishly blessed with seven rebirths, Gulshan Devaiah unleashes menace and thrills in equal measures. It is amazing to see the actor with long locks, paying an ode to Sanjay Dutt’s hairstyle in the 90s – which was a rage among the youth in those days. There are intelligent placements of the nostalgic era - Goldspot, audio cassettes, tape recorder and other paraphernalia which resonate with the bygone era along with the vivid and immaculate set design and costumes evocative of that period.
By the time we approach towards the fag end of the flabby 7-episode series, Raj and DK adopt a striking non-linear screenplay to convey deception and double-crossing, akin to the Coen brothers’ style of filmmaking and garnish the climax with intrigue and adrenaline. In a narrative that’s homogeneously laced with expletives and cuss words and bawdy references to egg and omelette and walnuts, I was constantly amused by Raj Kumar Rao’s antics who is commendably accompanied by a restrained Dulquer Salman, playing the part of a cop in a morally ambiguous scenario and Adarsh Gaurav lending a unique creepy dimension to the son desperately trying to prove his worth before his father. In small but relevant parts, Satish Kaushik, Shreya Dhanwantary, Vipin Sharma, and Varun Badola impress in the zany entertainer which intoxicates you progressively with each episode.
I am going with 4 stars out of 5 for Guns and Gulaabs. The series is streaming on Netflix Platform.
Guns and Gulaabs review video
do watch our Guns and Gulaab review video in Hindi