Coal as catalyst; GUNDAY's art of commercial success
The power of the visual media to enthrall audiences through the cinematic landscape is perhaps one of the reasons why the choice of locations matter phenomenally in making the film a grand success. Yash Raj Films GUNDAY is a living testimony of the maxim which has used Kolkata as the template of success and has woven the story intrinsically around the city to mesmerize the audience.
The breed of directors of the likes of Ali Abbas Zafar seem to have done their home-work well, of using the signposts and street furniture of the period in which the story has been situated and have created the surreal world of Kolkata of the early seventies and eighties.
World over, when cinema deals with gangster movies, it uses the template of the dockyards as a defining motif to push forward the story. And after a really long time, it has been done with competency in GUNDAY as well, where the water front of the Kolkata dockyards have been used imaginatively to let the narrative flow in a smooth manner.
There have been scores of stories that have epitomised the success that friends have achieved through struggle on the streets of Mumbai, but success of the same magnitude which continues to be told in hushed tones on the streets of Kolkata has come alive for the first time at the national level through GUNDAY.
For a change, GUNDAY has given a new template of giving precedence to friendship over falling in love and perhaps this would be for the first time in Hindi cinema where a girl has been left aside and has rather been sacrificed at the altar of friendship and this could emerge as catalyst in increasing the footfalls in the cinema halls.
It was more than 25 years ago that Yash Chopra had brought into relief the landscape of Dhanbad as the backdrop of setting a story in coal mines through KAALA PATTHAR. But GUNDAY has gone one step further and has used the rugged terrain of blasted mine sites of Dhanbad in a very imaginative manner. It has opened up a new vista of situating a Western type film in this landscape.
It would not be out of place to mention here that humble "coal" in the recent times has been used as a metaphor quite imaginatively starting from BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG to GANGS OF WASSEYPUR and then in GUNDAY and it has been a catalyst that oozes success.
One only hopes that more films will trace the sociological change brings about and the manner in which it has affected Indian society through the ages. For the present generation,a vital part of history that is missing from their present worldview would find a connect through such cinematic presentations of the likes of GUNDAY.
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