Anurag Kashyap's new oeuvre GULAAL after a long time is a film that has been set in the Hindi heartland that too of the landscape that evokes romance, valor, courage and wastefulness all wrapped into a package. Rajasthan has indeed been a backdrop that has been associated more with romance, but it is probably for the first time that the animosities of the clans and the castes that operate at all levels has been brought out in such stark motif in this film. Vidhu Vinod Chopra's EKLAVYA had tried to dwell on it in a passing manner, but the manner in which it has been contextualised in GULAAL hits you hard on the face.
The underlying character that operates at all levels in GULAAL is the anger, be it the anger against the system, against the love, it gets manifest in the manner in which romance has been constructed in the film. It is the towering presence of Piyush Mishra who has now acquired the iconic stage in theatre that makes GULAAL a film, which has Hindi as the binding motif, the Hindi that defines the politics of the Hindi belt, and Hindi, which is used as a point to make distinctions. For Kay Kay indeed GULAAL would establish his reputation as an actor who has all the qualities to be a worthy successor of the champion performer Sanjeev Kumar, a fact that was brought to the notice for the first time through these columns. Deepak Dobriyal has added one more feather into his acting oeuvre immediately after DELHI 6 and he is another fine actor whose potential would indeed set the screen on fire when he gets a solo role someday. GULAAL should be able to do it for him, one hopes.
It is after a long time that Hindi as a binding element has been used in a film and the manner in which poetry has been interlaced in the text, is a testimony to the fact that Piyush Mishra has been given a really free hand by Anurag Kashyap to set the screen on fire, and he has been able to do that. The results of the film would be worth watching only after the film reaches the hinterland and the mofussil areas of the country, as these are the places, which would be able to identify with the film. As far as the urban areas are concerned, it would indeed be a reality check for them, as they cannot remain oblivious to what is the situation at the ground zero level.