LICH rating: (4 / 5)
Co-writing with Vipin Bhati and Sourabh Ratnu, director Shanker Raman delivers a noir-coated atmospheric slow burn that’s a cross between the inevitability of a Shakespearean unravelling and the blood-spilt road that the Coen brothers traversed once upon a nostalgic bloody good time. Based on true events, Gurgaon is more than a thriller or a slow burn killer. It’s a gritty, atmospheric look at the chilling layer of patriarchy that buries beneath it the cries of female aspirations and lives that are both snuffed out in badlands, but are prevalent across societal layers.
Strung together by the tensile score by Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor, the cast is fabulous all around— Pankaj Tripathi gets in an understated ruthlessness and helplessness, this tension mapped on his face lines and alleviated by his hip flask; Akshay Oberoi is marvellous, his burning resentment exploding onscreen with a kidnapping and manipulations that seem to work, even if you don’t want them to; Ragini Khanna is superb, epitomizing the female flame that burns bright, especially when the winds of subjugation blow hardest; Shalini Vatsa as the mother and wife, torn between the past and present is very good, as is Aamir Bashir as the uncle who everyone turns to when life takes a murderous turn. The cinematography by Vivek Shah is riveting and breathtakingly real, as is the sound design by Mohandas V.P..
There’s a scene where Khanna’s character explains the concept of rainwater harvesting to Jonty, a local ( a deadly Yogi Singha)—who’s got a pivot role in the movie—and he says it’d been practiced for ages in his village. When she asks him the whereabouts of his village, his reply stuns you: it was where her multi-storey sacrilege is now taking its roots. It’s an explosive indictment of the web of insidious real estate sting. But there’s another equally stunning play here—what’s buried beneath the tony facade isn’t a one-off affair. It’s horribly generational and dynastic.
LICH ratings chart
(1 / 5): Don’t bother
(2 / 5): Not too great
(3 / 5): Worth a watch
(4 / 5): Very good
(5 / 5): Drop everything else NOW
Gurgaon is rated U/A by LICH for violence and disturbing theme.
Director Shankar Ramen Running Time 1h 47min
Writers Shankar Ramen, Sourabh Ratnu,Vipin Bhati
Stars Pankaj Tripathi, Ragini Khanna, Akshay Oberoi, Shalini Vatsa, Aamir Bashir
Genres Crime, Thriller