Fun In Parts, Passable Otherwise
‘UA’ Certified, 2 hrs 37 mins.
What Is the Film About?
Five females of varying ages have a common problem and target. They take the help of a writer Pencil (Nani) to avenge. What is the mission? Who is the person they are after, and why? It is what the movie is all about.
How Is Nani’s Performance?
Natural Star Nani is always a delight to watch for his free-flowing natural style of acting and comedy timing. He is repeatedly as good as the material allow him to be. So, it is invariably up to the content that makes him appear repetitive and less appealing or charming and instantly lovable.
Barring a few scenes here and there, nothing stands out in the narrative that could make one sit up and take notice of the actor in Nani. Yes, there is the mandatory emotional scene (here with senior actress Lakshmi), but we have seen him do better before.
But, what we liked about Nani in Gang Leader was that he let another actor (much younger in terms of screen age) steal a few scenes. Nani surrenders to the vision of the character and let Karthikeya’s character dominate for a while. It makes the narrative effective and story work. One only wishes those brief moments of timidness were explored fully.
Direction by Vikram Kumar?
Vikram Kumar is an exciting prospect in Telugu cinema thanks to his unique vision and concepts. He can get the best or at least closest to the best possible output for the genre he takes. Gang Leader isn’t a Manam or 24 conceptually, but it has a compelling premise that provides the possibility of a complete entertainer.
The movie hooks you in with the opening block itself. It raises the expectations in the film instantly even if one has come with none. Now imagine what happens when someone comes with high expectations in the first place? The rest of the narrative looks flat and gives an ordinary impression.
The problem with the first half is the “entertainment” which is below par and an inconsistent tone. The latter informs us of the former when a couple of truly genuine hilarious moments arrive. We can feel the difference.
On the story aspect, it is very thin and whatever twist is thrown lacks surprise. We already know what is going to be revealed.
The real story is saved for the second half. Revealing it would be akin to spoiling the fun, so we are not going to do. But suffice to say that, the bite that has been missing in the first half story-wise is present here. Vikram Kumar could still not present it in an emotionally fulfilling way. A scene or two exploring the pain of the lady gang would have been better considering the portrayal of victimhood.
However, even without the emotional depth, Gang Leader already feels bit lengthy by the time we get to pre-interval. Maybe the director too felt the same, and hence a rush to complete the film. The climax is not at all expected from Vikram Kumar. It is very routine and typical mass movie stuff.
The uneasy mixture comedy, drama, robbery and routine action make the narrative lack consistency. It is what gives the feeling of something is missing when we come out.
Overall, Gang Leader is a strict one time watch. An exciting and refreshing premise, few comedy scenes and a decent block in the second half are the reason for it. Give it a try if you have nothing else to do in this weekend, and go with low expectations.
Priyanka Arul Mohan, Karthikeya and Others?
Kartikeya takes up a negative role and stands tall. It is not just his physique, but the overall character design and styling that makes the impact. It has less screen time, but the job is done effectively.
Priyanka Arul Mohan is one of the weakest heroine debuts in Telugu cinema in the recent past. She is bland and lacks the screen present. It is particularly highlighted when she is put in between veteran artists like Lakshmi and Saranya Mohan. She is invisible. Luckily, Priyanka doesn’t have much to do to impact the narrative.
Among the ladies, Lakshmi is the best by far. She is in fine form (Oh Baby) and continues it in Gang Leader as well. Saranya Mohan is a distant second. She too does her part well. Vennela Kishore appears briefly and is hilarious the first time. The rest are adequate.
Music and Other Departments?
Anirudh has done a fantastic job, musically. The songs are lovely, and the background score is good. The picturization of the songs could have been better though. Technically, the movie is excellent with superb cinematography and production design. The editing is decent. The writing could have been better and lacks the usual spark, for a substantial part, associated with Vikram K Kumar films.
Casting (Nani, Karthikeya and Others)
Few Comedy Punches
A couple of Blocks In Second Half
Flat And Predictable Narration
Lacks Emotional Depth
Illogical At Key Moments
An alternative take would be a full-fledged cat and mouse game involving the robbery and its repercussion between the protagonist and antagonist. It would sound even better of both had a few grey shades in them.
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, in parts
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, but with reservations
Gang Leader Review by KK-US
As hoped, director Vikram Kumar lives up in the second half with few engaging blocks. There are a couple of twists, which work, even though they are not extraordinary. The climax could have been better, though. Overall, a watchable fare. Watch out for our honest and unbiased review coming your way soon.
– Priya (Priyanka) also falls for Pencil (Nani). Finally, a happy ending for the revenge gang led by Pencil (Nani). Final report shortly.
– After an emotional brief episode between Pencil (Nani) and Lakshmi movie heading towards the climax with a routine fight in the revenge game.
– Finally the sixth robber finds out who has robbed his stolen money (150 Crore).
– Gang Leader second half started. Pencil (Nani) gets a major breakthrough in the revenge, finds the cash from the bank robbery.
First Half Report:
Gang Leader has an exciting plot, but the narrative is ordinary at best. The comedy is mostly mediocre, with only a few punches matching the expectations. The interval is missing the bang (the surprise) that is required to elevate it.
Overall, the first half is passable. It is not outrightly boring, but passable. A lot depends on the second half and director Vikram Kumar’s ability to surprise to make up for the ordinariness so far.
– Kartikeya makes his entry as a fastest car racer.
– Finally, here comes a hilarious scene with the introduction of Vennela Kishore as a gay.
– Writer Pencil (Nani) starts his funny investigative trails and falls for Priya (Priyanka), one of the ladies of the gang.
– Priyadarshi convinces Pencil (Nani) to help the ladies gang.
– All of the Five robbers involved in the bank robbery got killed on the same day by the Sixth guy. 14 months later, Lakshmi gangs up with their family members to take the revenge on the guy who has killed them. The ladies decided to get help from Pencil Parthasarathy (Nani), a famous revenge writer who wrote number of crime stories.
– Gang Leader show started with a stylish bank robbery episode in the pitch dark. Story shifts to 14 months later while the titles rolling.
Gang Leader US Premier live updates will begin at 6 pm EST (3.30 am IST).
Preview: Gang Leader
Nani is presently in a certain terrain where he is in a dilemma both ways. When he chooses regular mass entertainers like MCA, he was asked to choose wisely, but when he chooses an intriguing content, his films are winning critical acclaim but not turning money spinners.
‘Gang Leader’ falls into the latter terrain and till now, the movie seems to be going the right way leaving doubts on the commercial angle. Whether it was the teaser or the trailer, Nani proved that he had voted for the content rather than mindless entertainment.
The movie is getting its due attention solely because of Nani. Nonetheless, the fresh angle spin by director Vikram Kumar can’t be ignored. For audiences, the director always gave the reason to expect a novel idea and this latest attempt also falls into the same category.
We only hope that Vikram Kumar’s output makes the movie successful in the commercial angle besides the critical acclaim his movies usually garner. Coming to pretty Priyanka Arul Mohan, she might prove an asset if she can win the young hearts with her looks and antics.
The music director, Anirudh Ravichander has delivered a memorable album with good songs and the rest depends on how the audiences receive the new age revenge drama laced with comedy.
It’s time you keep watching this space for comprehensive Nani’s ‘Gang Leader’ movie review from mirchi9 team. We’ll be back in no time, folks! Stay tuned!