The Hindi film Guns & Gulaabs is directed by Raj & DK and stars Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Gulshan Devaiah, Adarsh Gourav, TJ Bhanu, Satish Kaushik, Pooja Gor, Vipin Sharma, Shreya Dhanwanthary
Where can you watch Guns & Gulaabs in the UAE?
Guns & Gulaabs is currently on Netflix in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East.
Guns & Gulaabs review
- 90s nostalgia
- Quirky characters
- Interesting twists
- Script struggles
- Weak story arc
The hotshot director duo of Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK are probably one of the few who understand what makes a web series work. The two men, who have been behind the successful Amazon Prime web series like The Family Man (Seasons 1 and 2) and Farzi, have had their growing up years exposed to the masala films of their home State Andhra. From there, both went to America to pursue software engineering but also imbibed Hollywood’s gritty filmmaking style. So when they both struck a partnership together later, their offerings carried an edgy sensibility, with the humour close to black and their canvas filled with quirky, unpredictable characters.
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When the duo’s Guns & Gulaabs was announced as a crime thriller that pays homage to the endearingly tacky 90s — the era of the nasal-toned Kumar Sona, the short-lived fizz of the Campa Cola, the birth of globalization and the peak of audio cassette ecosystem (before its demise) — your curiosity was understandably piqued. For that bygone period offers plenty of bewitching material for the directors to run riot with their bag of fun and tricks.
The title itself may seem a homage to the 80s rock band Guns N’ Roses. After all, Gulaabs are Roses. But quite actually, the film’s title takes off from the fact that it is a whacky bullet-filled pulp fiction in the esoteric fictional town of Gulaabganj.
For a series of this type, trying to give the contour of the story is a tough exercise as it is more about the zany individuals and their crazy ways and less about unravelling the plot, which in any case is too complex. It is filled with — fights, love and drugs.
The village of Gulaabganj seems a fecund field for bizarre characters. There is the mechanic Tipu (Rajkummar Rao), whose father), who was part of the local drug gang, who has just perished. Now Tipu, who has a thing going for the teacher Chandralekha (TJ Bhanu) is caught in a vortex of confusion. Whether to continue his love or join the gang that his father owed allegiance to. The gang lord’s son Chhotu (Adarsh Gourav), has to show he has the mettle to run the show. But the problem is there is a mysterious assassin, a serial killer, if you will, Chaar Cut Atmaram (Gulshan Devaiah) is taking out his men for reasons that are not clear. And thrown into the mix is the upright narcotics officer Arjun (Dulquer Salmaan), who has a past that is troubling him. So what you have is a gaggle of ganglords at war, cops with some moral bend, school kids, and a miniature circus of intriguing characters in a land lush with opium fields.
So the 7-episode series should be fun with unexpected and unpredictable turns. The journey has many unanticipated twists, but the problem is that the trip is not enjoyable simply because it is a jumpy road. The script is not sturdy enough to handle this swarm of zany individuals. The homage to the 90s is fine. The black humour does make you break into a sly smile. But the consistency is missing, and the beats lose rhythm from time to time.
Writing exciting characters is fine, but giving them space to parade their crazy tricks is tough. And that is where the writing team has slipped. Rajkummar Rao as Tippu has a typical character that we are used to from him — a flawed man with no malice. Duluer Salman as a cop, is earnest. But he is underserved by the plot that doesn’t allow him any scope for novelty. The southern star surely deserved better. Gulshan Devaiah walks away with the most exciting part as the impossibly named Chaar Cut Atmaram, and he aces it with a show of bravura. Adarsh Gourav also gets a good arc, but his role is limited.
90s nostalgia, devious guys (and gals), bullets sprayed all around, droll humour and convincing performances are all there. Yet, the undoing of Guns & Gulaabs is that they don’t come together as one wholesome bunch. The individual morsels taste fine. But they don’t coalesce into a grand meal.
What are the other critics saying about Guns & Gulaabs?
Yogi Bolta Hai praised Netflix’s new web series, praising the ensemble cast’s performance, the script writing, witty dialogues and more. However, due to the violent nature of the show and some adult content, they recommend avoiding watching the film with family.
MenXP likes the overall web series, praising the performance of the cast, especially Rajkumar Rao and Dulquer Salmaan, who seem to effortlessly step into their role.