Gulaab Gang, which released on International Women’s Day, is inspired by the Gulabi Gang in UP . From the promos it was clear that the movie was going to be a typical Bollywood entertainer but with a message on women empowerment.
For the viewers, the primary attraction to the movie were its leading actresses Madhuri Dixit (Rajjo) and Juhi Chawla (Sumitra Devi), who shared the same frame for the first time in their long careers. The two have ruled the box office for many years and they take this opportunity to showcase the younger lot that they are not done yet. Be it the anger in Madhuri’s eyes or the cruelty in Juhi’s smile, the two portray their characters of Rajjo and Sumitra Devi with utmost of ease and conviction. Juhi in particular deserves credit for taking this challenge of a complete image makeover from the ever smiling affable actress, to this vicious power-hungry politician. A special mention to Divya Jagdale and Priyanka Bose; the movie would not have been the same without their parts as members of the gang.
The movie starts off well by explaining the origins and the mode of operation of Rajjo’s Gulaab Gang. The Gulaab Gang is shown fighting various injustices of the society before indulging into a political fight between Rajjo and Sumitra Devi. From then on, its a battle between the violent yet honest Rajjo and the manipulative Sumitra Devi.
There are a couple of very powerful and well-shot moments, especially those involving Madhuri and Juhi, but at 2hours 20 minutes, the movie turns out to be a bit of a drag and would have done much better without a couple of songs. In the attempt of making it a combination of a mainstream Bollywood movie (including Madhuri’s dancing) and a movie with a message, the director seems confused and is not able to do complete justice to either genres. In many ways, the movie is reminiscent of Sarkar but unfortunately just like Sarkar, it squanders the potential and talent at its disposal.
The songs in isolation are meaningful and refreshing for a change but they hinder the pace and seriousness of the plot. But do listen to the songs, especially Teri Jai Ho.
Despite the drawbacks, one should go watch Gulaab Gang only for the amazing performances by the cast. Watching Madhuri and Juhi indulging in dialoguebaazi on screen is something that you do not want to miss.
Rating – 3/5 ( 2 for the movie in itself but +1 for the cast)