Daddy (III) (2017)
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The movie starts off with Gawli's ambitions of winning in political elections. But his competing politicians and the government don't want that to happen so they put a wily old inspector Vijaykar (Nishikant Kamat) onto his case. Vijaykar has long been a nemesis of Gawli and his investigation of a murder where Gawli is the prime suspect, starts piecing together the past. Random characters from Gawli's life in the '70s and '80s recall his past life and that plays out for the viewer. Gawli's humble beginnings as a mill worker to his initiation into the world of gambling, extortion and eventually as a full-time gangster who competes against Dawood Ibrahim, rechristened Maqsood (Farhan Akhtar) forms the bulk of the narrative. The movie pitches Gawli as a noble hearted gangster who's drawn to a life of crime purely because of his unfortunate circumstances. Even as he competes against Dawood aka Maqsood, he takes the righteous route. Sure, there's killing and criminal activities, but there's a subtext of lesser evil that tries to establish Gawli as a kind man especially when compared to the treacherous Dawood / Maqsood. Later on, when he wins his maiden election to become an MLA and even when he's convicted of murder in court, he pleads that society isn't forgiving enough to let him change and rise above his past life.
Daddy is Gawli's nickname, one that came into prominence once his stance shifted from organized crime to politics. The film tries to establish Gawli as a family man. Someone, who was always repulsed by the life of crime around him, yet situations catapulted him to a life of blood and gore. This particular slant of Gawli being a good man, is a bit hard to swallow. Yet, in the context of the film and its story it works out fine. The slick and intense first-half of the film establishes the characters, the dark Mumbai underworld milieu and the violence to great effect. It feels like you're watching a Ram Gopal Varma film from the late '90s. So much so, that at times, such is the aesthetic appeal of Daddy that is becomes a better film than any other Hindi gangster movie before. Even at times, mimicking the works of Martin Scorsese, at least in terms of pulp appeal. The movie has a good background score, detailed production design and competent cinematography too. It's a technically adept film. But it also looks a lot like Ahluwalia's previous feature Miss Lovely.
What's absolutely refreshing is Arjun Rampal's performance and transformation as Arun Gawli. Yes there's the prosthetic driven cosmetic change, but Rampal does well to adopt Gawli's mannerisms, speech quirks and intensity. This is the most impressive performance of his career. Farhan Akhtar plays Dawood / Maqsood behind the retro goggles, the getup and the moustache. Even though his role is brief, it has big impact. Nishikant Kamat as the persistent cop is brilliant too. The performances of Daddy are all top notch.
The big problem with the film is its middle-of-the-road ambitions. It's a commercial film that's trying to be as authentic as a documentary and as sublime as an art film. That's where it drops the proverbial ball. The climax is underwhelming to say the least. It's as if the narrative can't make up its mind what it wants to do with Gawli's story. Projecting a violent gangster as a changed man and public hero doesn't quite play out as emphatically as it should. Despite its minor flaws, Arjun Rampal's fantastic performance and Ahluwalia's detailed visage make this gangster movie worth a watch.
The film is going on a slower pace throughout its running time. That's why it requires patience to deal with it. This type of cinema in Bollywood is rear. So, it is time for us to support it by increasing the box office numbers.
I don't know about its box office prediction, but surely know that it will be counted as Arjun's best movie. I was surprised to see his name in writing as well as producing. He is sincere about his work throughout his career. This will add bonus.
I am a fan of Farhan Akhtar. I think that is the reason why my mind was forcing me to like his character of Bhai (Ibrahim). Otherwise the thin body doesn't suit the character, as we have seen Emraan and Rishi earlier. Aishwarya Rajesh is the lead, and after seeing the photo of Gawli's wife in end credits, I believe she's the perfect choice. Nishikant Kamant once again rocks.
Direction is fantastic. You can feel the darkness of 70's and 80's. The assassination in lift is the scene of the film! Never seen that kind of scene in any cinema. Also, editing is griping. Despite having a slower pace, the editing is finely done that you can not miss anything.
Music is given by Sajid Wajid. Hardly three songs are there. Suitable for that particular situation. Background music has one splendid tune which we've heard in Ganesh Visarjan.
Don't go for this movie just for the sake of entertainment. If you want that, than go for Badshaaho. Daddy is the film which you have to give a try just for living the life of Arun Gawli. What went wrong that leads him to join a gang and why is he still in jail are the questions which this film clarifies.
One thing I liked the most is the dialogue of Arun, which is perfectly suitable in life of youngsters. Most of the classmates of mine are going abroad and will settle there for sure, I want to say them that- 'Mee Bhagoda Naahi, Apne Desh Ko Chhodke Kahin Nahi Jaaunga!'
After seeing the story of Manya Survey and Arun Gawli, I feel that the path we choose is given by God. No bad person is bad by birth. Or not by heart, too. We people are the biggest supporters of these kind of gangsters, who somehow wanted to change their path, but 'we' didn't let them to do that. Shame on us.
Why are we holding the past of any person, whether he/she's a gangster, a politician, a thief, a prostitute or a gambler, and not providing him/her that space which can change the profession. Till we don't change our mindsets, nothing will change. A chance is what they needed.
BAD 1. Story telling while movie is going is bad direction and continuous to through the movie which ruined joy of watching movie. Director should have focus on screen play rather then story telling through the movie.
The monotonous narrative and far too much voice over makes this a bad film.
For me Daddy is the best movie for 2017
Arjun Rampal and Ashim Ahluwalia's story is weak and should have been detailed. The screenplay is average as it fails to put together the life of Arun Gawli in a cinematic format. Ritesh Shah's dialogues are strictly okay and fail to register.
Ashim Ahluwalia's direction is the biggest culprit. He fails to do justice to the script, however faulty it may be. With his execution, he could have taken the film to a great height. But barring few scenes and the finale courtroom sequence, he misses the mark. Few scenes are quite bewildering. For instance, the encounter attempt on Arun Gawli at the 'nakabandi' failed to make an iota of sense. And why was Arun using paper ballot to vote when EVMs had already been introduced by then?
Spanning from the late-70s when Mumbai mills were shut-down, costing about 200,000 their daily wages uptil a decade back, to legal-uproar in the aftermath of Maharashtra's State Elections – in which Gawli scored a landslide victory, after more than 3 decades of unlawful exploits.
What makes this film worth watching is the tale of a man who apparently rose ranks - unwillingly so - when times were perfect breeding grounds for crime. Gawli became a 'criminal lord' not just against his wishes but also against the underworld's biggest. From fighting for the better part of his life for the lion's share of Mumbai's underbelly, to rising in stature in the hearts of Dagdi Chawl's slum-dwellers when his humanitarian efforts moulded his image as "Robin Hood", a protector – a.k.a. "daddy". Alas, the police and rivals' tagged enmity got the better of Gawli, who attempted to mend his ways – unfortunately, fell from grace.
Arjun Rampal is tremendously influential in his mobster portrayal. His raw grit and volatility are inspiring; which goes the same for his arch-rival – Inspector Vijaykar (by ace director-actor Nishikant Kamath, "Force duology", "404: Error Not Found"). Their tiff becomes the drive for the good, the bad and the ugly happening in this multi-character narrative. In fact, the lesser known casting choices added needful leverage; be it with Gawli's wife (Aishwarya Rajesh from Tamil cinema's "Vivegam"), a snitch (Shruti Bapna, "The Lunchbox"), a firing fast-friend (Rajesh Shringarpore, "Sarkaar Raj") or with the Dawood-fashioned nemesis (a surprising - Farhan Akhtar).
However, the valiant effort of the debuting co-writer and producer Rampal went off the road several times. The idea of many stories converging to tell one – was interesting; until too many plot points savaged the momentum. The homages to the 70s era songs, the lackluster background-score and editing– don't add up either. The film gracefully attempted to portray a 'mobster with a heart of gold'; but empathizing with a criminal might've only made a lucrative screenplay. The direction (Ashim Ahluwalia, National Film Awardee "Ms. Lovely") has blunt visualization with guns, romance, lust, action and what not – but mostly in vain.
I actually hoped that it should've have been more than an "occupational hazards of being a gangster" film. It wasn't boring, but surely not captivating enough. Sincerely hoping to see Arjun Rampal with more - a 6.25/10.
The story is told partly through flashbacks, and partly through present day action. One person's flashback leads into another's and quite soon you don't know if you are in the present or a flashback. It's very confusing and takes the viewer out of the film. The flashbacks don't seem to add any value other than tell us how Gawli has been wronged and isn't all that bad. The fact that we need to be told rather than seeing for ourselves just about sums up the screenplay's shortcomings.
Arjun Rampal cannot act. He should really stop trying. Mercifully, Farhan Akhtar wasn't required to act. Between the oversize sunglasses and the oblique camera angles, we didn't have to see much of his face or his attempts at acting.
Production design was great. Supporting cast, especially Nishikant Kamat were great. That made the film just about watchable.