'Gangster' is a fiasco of colossal proportions, the preposterous plot points of which are fired at you in quick succession. It's an exhausting mess of a movie that suffers from the severest of all mishaps - that of an almost imaginary, non-existent script.
Akbar Ali (Mammootty), grows into a man, having been witness to the gory murder of his family. Years later, he wreaks vengeance on the men who had slaughtered them, and emerges into a don of fearful repute. In the nineties, he shifts base to Mangalore from Mumbai, and forms a peace treaty with the two hoodlums of Mangalore - Mani Menon (Kunchan) and Uncle Sam (John Paul). And all remains well, until Anto Pandhare (Shekhar Menon), Uncle Sam's godson enters the fray.
The tale is as old as the rusty port of Mangalore on which it is based, and has zilch new to offer. Which is why the focus shifts on to the treatment, and here Aashiq Abu does take a daring step forward and makes his gangster rooted firmly on the soil on which he stands. He is a man with some raw emotions, and does have the capability to accept defeat.
Sadly though, this is the sole merit of the film that takes a while - the entire first half, in fact - to get its feet on the ground. By then, the man has had his share of losses, and the wait starts for his rejuvenation. He takes off to Ajmer, and after a song, and some therapy later, lands back in Mangalore, with a single mantra chant flowing from his lips - that of revenge.
The shallowness of the script is evident throughout, and the odd dialogues that crop up every now and then are a respite at times, and a blight at others. Quite obviously, this isn't a film that banks on its one-liners, and those of you who are on the lookout for some dhamakedaar dialogue-maari are in for a big disappointment.
The extensive periods of silence with a slow, whirring background score playing through, soon start getting on your nerves, and with the action showing little progress, the film even threatens to be a mere collage of a few disjointed shots thrown together.
With the narration starting off in full swing with some awesome animation to boot, it all looked set to be a monster of an entertainer. But in no time, does the energy fizzle out, and it all ends up as a shadow of a whimper. And we have seen them all, and by all, I mean pretty much all of it.
I guess a decree of sorts exists that categorize the women in gangster films into two categories - the ones that would be bumped off without a second thought, and the others who are destined to seductively adorn the villain's den. Sana Muhammed (Nyla Usha) falls into the former class, while Lily (Aparna Gopinath) almost makes it to the second group.
Here is an experiment that seems to have gone all wrong, and in effort to be realistic to the core, attempts are made to lend some flesh and bone to each one of those characters that hover around the background. The classic case is that of Vidhura, a widowed cop who has recently got married, and whose bride has a tough time managing his son, who is badly missing his mom.
Surprisingly, 'Gangster' does not come across as a visual treat either, and there is no visual wizardry on show. I wonder if this is a deliberate ploy, and the stealth and sneakiness are retained to the core, as Alby's camera looms large over the Mangalorean landscape like a mobster on the prowl. With several sequences strewn together almost haphazardly, 'Gangster' at times leaves the audience dazed, and the editing one wishes, could have been much crisper.
Mammootty looks dashing as Akbar Ali, and yet there is no missing the lost look that creeps into his eyes every now and then. Shekhar Menon is quite impactful as the stout baddie, and Kunchan, Hareesh Peradi and John Paulm impress among the supporting cast. Nyla Usha and Aparna Gopinath - well, they're there. Nothing more, nothing less.
The even sag that painfully persists throughout, the mindless gunshots and blood splatter and the sodden predictability together blow up this film beyond recognition. And no amount of crashing and crunching can salvage an entertainer from the massive debris that it leaves behind.
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