Daddy : (2017 Crime Drama) Review
Daddy :It’s kinda ironic! That a biopic on the real life Mumbai gangster looks like a work of fiction compared to Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Satya’ (1998) and Mahesh Manjrekar’s ‘Vaastav’ (1999) which infact, were fictitious take on the Mumbai underworld.
Like it or not, a drunk Bhiku Mhatre declaring himself the king of Mumbai sounds far more believable than Arun Gulab Gawli (Arjun Rampal) defending himself in the legislative assembly where he is a freshly elected MLA.
Chroniciling his ascent from abject poverty in the infamous Dagdi Chawl to turning a politician, Daddy is narrated from the point of view of an investigating officer (Nishikant Kamat) who has an axe to grind with him ever since Gawli shot him in the leg.
A product of the 70’s mill workers strike which rendered thousands homeless and destitute; Arun starts off as a small time thug working with his goon buddies Babu Reshim (Anand Ingale) and Rama Naik (Rajesh Shringarpure). They join Dawood Ibrahim, referred here as Maqsood bhai (Farhan Akhtar), and enter the Mumbai underworld.
Making a name for themselves, the BRA (Babu, Rama and Arun) gang separate on bitter terms from the D Company. In return, Maqsood bhai bumps off Babu and Rama leaving Arun to manage the gang and become a messiah of sorts for the Dagdi Chawl residents.
Of the cast, Arjun Rampal uses his body language and voice effectively to play Gawli. Incidentally, Makrand Deshpande had played the same character in a Marathi film called ‘Dagdi Chaawl’ (2015) and was absolutely fantastic in it. Ofcourse, this is not to imply that Arjun Rampal is not good. He is! But strictly by comparison, Mak was better.
The supporting cast is mostly first rate. Aishwarya Rajesh, debuting in bollywood, impresses as Gawli’s muslim wife who turns in to his strong support system. Noted director turned actor Nishikant Kamat pitches in another good performance after his solid villainous act in ‘Rocky Handsome’ (2016). Surprisingly, Farhan Akhtar falls short of expectations as Maqsood bhai. Rajesh Shringarpure and Anand Ingale leave a mark in their small roles.
Ashim Ahluwalia’s direction is wishy washy – he depicts all the key events from Gawli’s life – but fails to stitch them together as one cohesive script. Some interesting facets of Gawli’s personality are touched upon like his wish to quit the underworld at one point of time as well as his humanitarian side when he gives refuge to muslims during the 1993 Mumbai riots.
Technically, the film recreates the bygone era perfectly with the attention to detail evident in every scene. The disco item number – which sounds pinched from the song “Zindagi Ittefaq Hai” from ‘Aadmi aur Insaan’ (1969) – has the adequate retro look and feel.
Finally, Daddy is a fine addition to the list of Bollywood’s gangsta genre. But a ‘Satya’, it ain’t!
Ratings on some key aspects :
1. Acting: 3.5/5
2. Direction : 2.5/5
3. Music : 2.5/5
4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 2.5/5
5. Cinematography : 3.5/5
6. Production Quality : 4/5
7. Action : 3.5/5