Ashim Ahluwalia's 'Daddy' is an intriguing crime drama that unfolds an unheard story of Mumbai's Robin Hood gangster Arun Gawli. Playing the gangster this time Arjun Rampal intensified Gawli's real life character and sets a beanchmark with his comeback. The film begins with a cold blooded assassination of a politician in 2011, thereby the Mumbai police cop Vijaykar Nitin (Nishikant Kamat) is striving hard to get Gawli behind the bars and trying to reopen cases. The film begins with its narrative fashion starting off with an interrogation with various witness including Arun's mother (Usha Naik), his wife (Aishwarya Rajesh) and one of his gang members.The movie had various relatable characters speaking their point of view and revealing their perception about Daddy.
It's early 1976 where the Dagdi Chawl gang of Gawli is growing and gets established in the crime world reckoned as the B.R.A. gang named after Babu Reshim (Anand Ingale), Rama Naik (Rajesh Shringarpure) and Arun Gawli (Arjun Rampal). It's the epic rivalry of Dawood urf Bhai and Arun Gawli's gang which captivates the underworld with terrific thrills and chills, ups and downs and bold horrifying shootout scenes in the regions of Bombay. Although, intention is the only difference between the two of them.
Rampal was spot on and crafted both phase of Arun's character, the fierce and calm young (1970's wala gawli) and the kind old patron (2012 one) splendidly. Aishwarya Rajesh stand out flawless as Arun's reel life wife depicting true passion and innocence for her love. Playing two phase of her character(Asha), first as a young muslim girl, then later on a traditional commanding Marathi housewife, the south Indian actress was commendable with this flamboyant role.
Later on, the film has surprised the audience with a sudden introduction of Farhan Akhtar as Dawood Ibrahim that completely seems to annex the movie with his major role.
The screenplay of the movie revolves around a series of flashback that engages you to this unheard story of the gangster turned politician Gawli's early days in 1976 when Mumbai was known Bombay.
The film had only a couple of songs that were absolutely relevant with the ongoing scene. A classy retro song that captures our attention 'Zindagi meri Dance Dance' composed by Bappi Lahiri and performed by Alisha Chinai and Vijay Benedict. This slow tempo thin track takes you back in time in those leaning disco tracks of the early 80's. The song features Natasa Stankovic in a vintage golden outfit dancing with her flat heels on.
Another track in the film is a kavali Eid song 'Eid Mubarak' composed by the duo Sajid Wajid and performed by Shabab Sabri and Tanvir Hussain. The song defines this joyous festival of Eid with various scenes including festive gestures and the other traditions followed in this festival of peace right from a warm hug to inviting the loved ones to dawaat relishing Biryani and kheer.Just like the kavali track, 'Aala Re Aala Ganesha' track is a pivotal point of the gangster's life.
From co-writing the film, director has set high standards with his team when it comes to the filmmaking technicalities. From bell bottom vintage pants to white collar shirts, costume designing escalated by Divya and Nidhi Gambhir brings the vintage Bombay era to life. It literally takes you back in the time with impeccable continuity matched with the brilliance of the art direction team that takes this film to a whole different level. Creating the 1970's Bombay, right from the sets of Dagdi Chawl to the dance bars, or creating political rally in 2012, the art directors came up in creating sets that looked even more concrete then real life.
Moreover, Cinematography by Jessica Lee Gagné and Pankaj Kumar's foremost vision has captured outstanding compelling scenes with their finest camera-work indeed. Dialogues of the film written by Ritesh Shah might attract lots of whistle from single screens for sure.
Ahluwalia's Daddy delivers a convincing story telling style that makes the popular gangster genre even more interesting. As it rationalizes the ideologies of the two mastermind of the crime world. Daddy is not just a film but one of the finest cinematic contribution that expresses the other side of the story with some great research and factual interpretation. It makes you think deeply about the real life politician and an ex-gangster Arun Gawli who currently serves life imprisonment.
Even if you are not a fan of this genre, still watch it because of its narrative screenplay gives a sneak peek about the underworld nexus in detail.