Anurag Kashyap’s Saga on the coal mafia of Dhanbad can be summed as a cult movie in this genre.
The story is of the rivalry between Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) and Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) and commences pre independence and gives a complete low down as to how the coal mafia emerged.
The Story by Zeishan Quadri is a basic Revenge Drama, but the screenplay is the biggest highlight which is very well written and each character is well defined, and the sub plots seamlessly merge with the main plot. The screenplay is tight and there is not a single moment wherein the screenplay falters. The Dialogues are well written and helps in elevating the scenes, though the language used is raw and use of gallis is generous keeping in mind with the set up. The violence in the movie is crude and extremely realistic.
Another biggest highlight of the movie is the Casting by casting director Mukesh Chabra, each actor is aptly cast.
The strongest point of the movie is the performances. Manoj Bajpai again proves his versatility; he is aggressive as well as funny in his portrayal of Sardar Khan and does complete justice to the complex character. Tigmanshu Dhulia as Ramadhir Singh epitomizes the “The Great Indian Villain” and does a great job in his acting Debut; he should try acting as an alternate career. But real surprise is Richa Chaddha who plays “Nagma Khatun”, Sardar Khan’s wife, is a revelation and stands out in the ensemble cast with her fiery performance. Others like Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Faisal (Sardar Khan’s Son), Piyush Mishra as Sardar Khan’s chacha and others in cast do a splendid job, special mention of Huma Qureshi who has little in this first installment but shows a spark in her debut, I am sure she has more to do in the 2nd installment.
Other major highlights of the movie are the Cinematography, Production Design and above all the music. The Cinematography by Rajeev Ravi captures the spirit of the movie extremely well and adds on to the narration. The Production Design by Wasiq Khan is brilliant especially for a movie which spans through different eras, which is well captured right from the umbrella to the cars, every minute details of that time is well taken care of. And the biggest highlight the music by Sneha Khanwalkar, which is refreshingly different and the fusion of folk and modern beat is done well.
Overall a movie which has all the reasons to be larger than life, kudos to Anurag Kashyap for such an attempt in a large scale, can’t wait for the 2nd installment as the movie ended exactly where normally the Interval happens. 4 stars from me.