Prepare yourself for a well-executed crime-action drama, based on the life of former gangster turned politician Arun Gawli, and get mesmerized by the performance of Arjun Rampal!
By Amol S. Malkar - September 7, 2017
Cast: Arjun Rampal,Aishwarya Rajessh,Nishikant Kamat,Rajesh Shringarpure,Usha Naik,Anand Ingle,Shruti Bapna,Natasa Stankovic,Anupriya Goenka
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
A well-executed action crime thriller packed with gritty visuals and power packed performances by an ensemble cast!
Positive Points: Technically sound, well-paced screenplay, gritty action and Arjun Rampal’s on point performance.
Negative Points: The story of Arun Gawli put on fast pace, which should have been paced properly!
Despite pitching as a biopic, the story of Daddy begins with the assassination of politician Mhatre, for which Arun Gawli (Arjun Rampal) was accused. And then as Inspector Vijaykar Nitin (Nishikant Kamat) narrates, the film goes through several flashbacks and from the point Gawli started his journey on the darkest path of Mumbai underworld. The point when he was just a local goon in Dagadi area with his BRA gang and partners in crime Babu Reshim (Anand Ingale) and Rama Naik (Rajesh Shringarpure). But his real journey begins when he committed his first murder and an escape felicitated by Don Maqsood (Farhan Akhtar). Though new to the power game, Gawli quickly gained control over his conscious, intuitions and managed to keep himself alive. The film then propels as Gawli decided to avenge Maqsood for the friends he lost in this power game.
Daddy is a biopic based on the life of infamous ex-gangster turned politician Arun Gawli, who ruled Mumbai underworld for more than 30 years and eventually moved to politics. Considering the fact Daddy is a gritty gangster crime drama, it accesses most liberty of an A certified film, keeping all the elements of gore, bloodshed and encounters to the way it should be and be shown in the way an adult audience would like to see.
The narrative point of the film is episodic and moves between timelines of different decades in Mumbai, and one can also see Mumbai changing its name from Bambai to Bombay to Mumbai. The story effectively takes us through the character development of each actor and eventually gets us to root for the characters at the end.
Though Daddy is Ashim Ahluwalia’s first Bollywood film, he lays his experience of directing Indie films to this high-powered crime drama. Ashim shot the film in the realistic grittiness of Mumbai, in its raw form, and yet the film never loses its pace, despite narration jumps from flashbacks to current time! Director’s attention to the detail is commendable. There were many scenes where a Bollywood director could have approached with a typical rule book of handling scenes, but you'd be glad he didn't do it.
Brilliant script and gripping screenplay could have been useless if casting director had gone token casting for the film, and it is good that it didn't happen in that way! Each actor played their part well and casting most of the characters from Marathi cinema did make sense. Some of the supporting actors who performed remarkably are Anand Ingale, Anupriya Goenka, Shruti Bapna and Deepak Damle. Farhan Akhtar’s performance is average and to the narration, though as per credits, Farhan just had a cameo, you'd be happy to know it has an appreciable length.
Just as everyone expected, Arjun Rampal delivered a career defining performance in Daddy as a fearless, intelligent, compassionate gangster. He was simply awesome. Throughout the film, his character goes from local loafer to a beloved public figure, and Arjun's performance sure takes us through the journey. To the point where we as audience also wish the character to be set free from Life Sentence!
And last but not the least, Nishikant Kamat steals the show with his multi-shaded character of Inspector Vijaykar Nitin as when we believe his honest and noble character has single minded agenda to put an end to the reign of Gawli, his character also shows shades you would never expect to see in it.
Though it is a retro period drama, it is one of the rare examples of being blessed by technical brilliance, and it would take some efforts to figure out the prosthetic work on Arjun Rampal to get him identical to Arun Gawli. Despite the excellent action choreography by Sham Kaushal for its gripping encounter scenes, the gritty colour scheme and daunting background score make a fast-paced scene goes well with narration and not feeling messed up. But the attention to the details of each and every element in the frame was marvelous.
Though, music aspect of this film composed by Sajid Wajid, it is average and to the narration but still offers a variety of songs to lay emphasis on narration and accentuate the setting of the scene. Zindagi Meri Dance Dance, which is a remastered track from the movie Dance Dance, is one track that would take the audience to a retro trip with all its glory. Aala Re Aala Ganesha and Eid Mubarak are aesthetically enjoyable.
The musical score of this film takes the credits as it moves, rises and proved to be an aid for the storytelling.
Instead of having fear of falling into a documentary-style biography, the film Daddy will entertain you with its gripping plotline, realistically shot encounters and power packed performances by the whole star cast! Definitely a must-watch!
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