Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Jaideep Ahlawat, Nawazuddin Siddique, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Richa Chadda, Reemma Sen
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
The title in the poster is in cowboy western fonts and the name itself is a nod to Scorsese and Tarantino. There are Godardian voice-overs and expansive yet stark, choking shots of featureless countryside—like in, say, a Sergio Leone or even the Coen Brothers. There’s almost a direct lift of a Godfather set-piece, Sonny Corleone’s killing, complete with a treacherous phone call and a car being bullet-ridden at a midway point. But as a bloodied Manoj Bajpai falls in slow motion, there’s the quirky, rumbustious Jiya ho Bihar ke lala to go with it. Whatever influences director Anurag Kashyap may have had, this touch of the earthy as element of surprise is all his own, scattered through all the bends and turns of this sweeping tale of bloody gang wars in the coal mafia-ruled Dhanbad.
Life is cheap in Wasseypur, so its citizens seem to have a cavalier attitude towards it. Shahid Khan (Jaideep Ahlawat, brilliant) waylays trains posing as the dreaded Sultana Daaku. He engages in easy banter with the engine drivers before the loot. After a bloodbath, he escapes to become a lowly collier, then a henchman in the dark coalmines of Ramadhir Singh (filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia’s acting debut, impressive). He’s soon double-crossed and shot point blank. Shahid’s son, Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpai, just on the safer side of going OTT) swears to avenge his father’s killing. Soon, India wins freedom (Did they have...