"ये महलों, ये तख्तों, ये ताजों की दुनिया,
ये इंसां के दुश्मन समाजों की दुनिया,
ये दौलत के भूखे रवाजों की दुनिया,
ये दुनिया अगर मिल भी जाए तो क्या है?"
(Yeh mahlon, yeh takhton, yeh taajon ki duniya,
Yeh insaan ke dushman samajon ki duniya,
yeh daulat ke bhookhe rawazon ki duniya,
yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai?)
This song from Guru Dutt's Pyaasa had a severe effect on the audience. The song continues to haunt us till date. That was the power delivered by Saahir Ludhiyanvi's lyrics, S D Burman's music, Mohammad Rafi's voice, and Guru Dutt's performance. Anurag Kashyap's duniya in Gulaal is no less powerful and may stay with you for a long time.
A and I went to watch the movie today. The shock factor in the movie made A jump several times and ask me why I was devoid of any reaction. I wasn't; I reacted several times but I was prepared. I was prepared because it was Anurag Kashyap's film. I had expectations and I received much more than I expected.
Gulaal is a work of art. It is creative cinema - unapologetic and real. And Anurag has a conviction that makes him take risks. The other day, I watched him in a show called, 'Face the Review' when he had come to counter the criticisms levied on his last film, Dev D. He countered every charge agaisnt his film without sounding defensive. I pity the people who criticize Anurag's kind of cinema. No, Anurag is not making a film to please everyone. He cannot do a Karan Johar to promote his films. Anurag's movies can reach people beyond the multiplexes without advertising. And his movies will affect everyone who watches it, annoying some and disturbing most. I am yet to watch Dev D but I know it also will leave me with a hangover like Black Friday, No Smoking, and Gulaal did.
Gulaal is powerful not only in its concept but also in the performances and the presentation. Kay Kay needs no introduction; he is the star actor, even though he is not mentioned in the traditional race. Raj Singh Chaudhary, who co-authored the script and the screenplay, plays the simpleton-sucked-into-chaos convincingly well. After his performance in Omkara, Deepak Dobriyal is everyone's favourite. Delhi 6 could not give him enough screen space but the actor gets to play an important character in Gulaal, doing justice to every frame. Abhimanyu Singh does extreme justice to his character in the film. His performance was phenomenal. I look forward to watching him in more films. Ayesha Mohan handled her character like a pro. Gulaal marks her debut. Jesse Randhawa leaves a mark in the movie. Mahie Gill performs her part well as Kay Kay's mistress. Everyone does justice to his/her character in the movie irrespective of its length. Take for example the ardh-narishwar bahurupiya portrayed by Yash Tonk. I wish this character was developed a little more. But then, gaps like these don't make Gulaal any less powerful than it is.
Piyush Mishra is the surprise package in the movie. The man is a brilliant actor. It is not his acting that is surprising in the movie but the lyrics and the music he composed for this movie. Gulaal is Piyush's debut as a lyricist and music director. His lyrics move you, bother you, disturb you; they stick to you, cling to you. While some songs are classics in the making, others may sound outrageous. But each word in the songs is integral to the movie. And to top it all, Piyush lends his voice to the songs!
Gulaal will not let you come out spotless. It will rub some of its coloured dust on you, however careful you are. Take for example the following words in Piyush's dedication to Saahir Ludhiyanvi:
"तुम्हारी है तुम्ही संभालो ये दुनिया,
ऐ बुझते हुए चंद बासी चरागों,
तुम्हारे ये काले इरादों की दुनिया|"
(Tumhari hai, tumhi sambhalo ye duniya,
Ay bujhte huye chand baasi charago,
Tumhare ye kaale iraadon ki duniya.)