Gurgaon: A Bitter Pill Drenched in Darkness
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director Shankar Raman’s Gurgaon covers the icky and dark politics that exists in the concrete jungle of Haryana. In his chosen manner of treatment, the director never provides space for light to seep in. The darkness will make you uncomfortable and it will go on to prevail as one male after another grabs their right to power. But this intended treatment, though harsh is unfortunately real.
Kehri Singh (Tripathi) is an established property developer who in the present timeline tries to drink his conscience away. He is the head of his family and anyone who risks rebelling against him will be put through dire consequences.
Singh’s family includes his daughter Preet (Ragini Khanna), who stands heavily favored, Nikki (Akshay Oberoi), his older son who resents Preet and her winning tendencies, Younger son Chintu (Ashish Verma) who is caught between darkness and truth and lastly, Mrs. Singh (Shalini Vatsa) who continues to withstand the torturous ways of this family. Gurgaon covers the misogyny of this family, their thirst for the beacon of power and the dark, dark things Singh does to attain a wealthy life. We are taken through this journey in a brutal manner.
Director Raman establishes a grueling territory in the darkest way possible. His treatment is raw and devoid of compromises. From the very beginning, it becomes clear to you that you are in for quite a cutthroat journey. Gurgaon here is used as a metaphor to symbolize greed, patriarchy, misogyny, violence and a complete lack of unity
The manner in which the director captures Singh’s eccentricity through a raw approach proves to be intriguing. The reason behind him favouring his daughter will rob you of your sleep. The way these women struggle and the fact that they will be killed by their own family even if they sense the slightest rebellion is explored extensively in the film. The helplessness you feel at the centre of it all is quite hard-hitting.
The manner in which Gurgaon’s screenplay unravels is inconsistent. The way it switches back and forth to reveal Singh’s dark secrets actually tends to dumb down the intensity of the film. A smoother transition would’ve immersed the audiences more. But because of this treatment, you unconsciously distance yourself from the story and its characters.
The troubling climax is exceedingly unsettling and ugly. It demonstrates the fact that goodwill might not always win. This apparent lack of hope though realistic, might not be everybody’s cup of tea.
The cast of Gurgaon are easily one of the visible strengths of the film. Tripathi encapsulates the ruthlessness of his character. The performances of Ragini Khanna and Shalini Vatsa are especially fascinating. You feel the power that lies inside these women through their variant expressions. As Nikki, Akshay Oberoi takes resentment to whole new levels. He never shies away from revealing his character’s entirely black heart.
The visual handling of the film is quite fitting. Cinematographer Vivek Shah establishes the eeriness of the premise with undeterred darkness. His color palette and framing convey the troubled happenings perfectly. Music too accentuates the impact of this genre. There is an underlying coldness in the notes of Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor that does an exceptional job at establishing harshness.
On the whole, Gurgaon is quite a bitter pill to swallow. It throws in your face the harsh and unsettling realities of life. Thought you have to take away points for the inconsistent screenplay, the film otherwise fares well in establishing its genre unapologetically.