Director: Anand Kumar
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Vivek Oberoi, Paresh Rawal, Divya Dutta, Minissha Lamba
Movie review – A sorry tale!
Zila Ghaziabad is irony at its best. A film that claims to be an authentic portrayal of the real life violent gang wars that created havoc in Ghaziabad in 1990s is unbelievably deprived of any originality. This film is an example of how some Bollywood film makers love to thrive on filmi formulas that have worked well at the box office. Zila Ghaziabad is Dabangg sans the charm and unique Chulbul Pandey essence perfected by Salman Khan. Every scene seems to put the audience through a ‘been there seen that’ moment making it absolutely an uninteresting watch. The film is a déjà vu of Bollywood cinema from the 80’s and 90’s in totality.
The plot is based on real life incidents. Two fierce gangs are at loggerheads because of a plot of land. One group is led by Satbir Gujjar, played by Vivek Oberoi and the other is led by Mahender Fauji Bainsla Gujjar played by Arshad Warsi. Sanjay Dutt plays the macho cop who is in the middle of this feud, trying to resolve issues in a pseudo- Dabangg style. The action in the film is a slight overtone, making it a little uncomfortable for the audience as the film proceeds. The cast seems to be on a rampage slitting throats, throwing knifes at each other, explosives and some unimaginably loud punches and fight scenes. The film fails miserably in its appeal as it does not live up to the title even remotely! There is nothing that visually convinces the audience that the film is set in Ghaziabad.
The characters fail to be believable or original. Sanjay Dutt’s character of the policeman is quite shamelessly borrowed from Dabangg. He is playful, funny and still quite the stud, just like Chulbul Pandey. Vivek Oberoi seems to have put in some effort to live the role that he portrays and has done justice to it. he comes across as a dedicated actor in his portrayal of a “school teacher gone bad” role. Arshad Warsi, who is otherwise quite the performer, seems to have just floated through the script without paying any attention to the character he is playing. It is a very “for the heck of it” performance and is quite a disappointment. However, it does salvage some expectation to see Arshad is a quite different role when compared to his regular comic capers. The only other actors who are worth noticing in this film are Paresh Rawal and Divya Dutta. Both of them have delivered the expected natural and believable performance.
Had director Anand Kumar put in a little more effort into actually researching the events that took place during the gang wars, he might have been able to generate better reviews. Also, more effort on actual screenplay and effective dialogues rather than merciless and gruesome action screen might have saved the film.
Zila Ghaziabad is a lesson to all film makers who think that the audience is only looking for an impressive star cast. The magic formula is only complete with a strong screenplay and authentic moments that the audience can react to. You could skip Zila Ghaziabad unless you are a diehard fan of one of the many stars in this film and live by your promise to stand by them through their worst films.