This was originally posted March 2009 - way before any news of Shiney Ahuja's disgusting proclivities made the headlines.
In the wake of Kangana's big win at the Filmare Awards, I thought it would be appropriate to watch Kangana's first movie - Gangster: A Love Story. While Kangana was, indeed, fantastic, the movie itself suffered from a serious case of Emran Hashmi and some funky flashbacks.
Although the film is titled Gangster: A Love Story, the main character is not the titular gangster but his common law wife - Kangana. She's been left on her own in Seoul while the gangster is off doing gangstery stuff elsewhere and has been drowning her sorrows in lots and lots of booze. But... while the cat's away the mice will play and Kangana finds solace in the arms of a nerdy nightclub singer - Emraan Hashmi. She breaks down and he picks up the pieces.
Things seem destined to turn romantic...
But what happens when the Gangster comes back? Will he reform his ways make her remember their love? Will she decide to stay with nerdy Emraan?
The setting in Seoul and the general angstyness of the plot put me mind of a Korean drama.
Kangana's character is the perfect doomed drama heroine. Given 16 episodes, she would weep, wail, argue, be kidnapped, and possibly die in the snow - from a gun shot wound or some sort of uncurable illness (I haven't decided which.) She makes for a rather unusual Bollywood heroine, though, which is perhaps why she made such a strong impression on people and won the best newcomer award for this movie.
Emran even gives her a piggy back ride! Perfect K-drama stuff!
Shiney's Gangster is also classic doomed drama hero material and he has great chemistry with Kangana. We all know that he's going to be unable to escape from his wicked life but we can't help hoping that these two crazy kids will work things out.
There are two things that keep Gangster: A Love Story from being a great film, despite the Korean soap set-up.
* The mixed-up chronology does no favors for the plot. The flashbacks within flashbacks get confusing. Instead of building tension, they build confusion - "Who is this?" "Why is she shot?" "Has this happened already?" The story itself is compelling enough that we don't need post-modern flashbacks to make it 'edgy.' I'd like to see Gangster: A Love Story re-edited in a chronological way to see if that makes a difference to how the narrative flows.
* Emraan Hashmi is terrible. Also, I don't enjoy watching him shove his tongue down his leading lady's throat. This role would have been better suited to Rahul Bose or Abhay Deol or, you know, somebody who can act. Emran's one-note portrayal only adds to the confusion when later events give his character some twists and turns. The character is a bit of a cipher and more depth on the part of the actor would have added so much to the movie. Does he really love Kangana? What draws him to this messed-up woman?
Still, I did enjoy it - the soundtrack is excellent...
... and who doesn't enjoy a nice soapy melodrama once in a while.