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Daddy : Flat Narrative, Daddy Play’s It Safeicon

CAST : ArjunRampal, Rajesh Shringarpure, NishikantKamat, Aishwarya Rajesh, AnandIngale, FarhanAkhtar
DIRECTION : AshimAhluwalia
GENRE : Biopic
DURATION : 2 hours 15 minutes

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Credits : Inox

StoryRaised in Mumbai's DagdiChawl, which was home to the mill workers in the 70s, ArunGulabGawli(Arjun), a local went on to became a dreaded don and later a politician. Not to forget...Dawood Ibrahim's chief adversary.

Review Producer-writer ArjunRampal decides to make a film on the Mumbai underworld and goes about the shindig without calling Dawood, Dawood.'Dawood' becomes 'Maqsood' in Rampal's Daddy and worse you see one of the most effeminate portrayals of the fugitive gangster played by none other than FarhanAkhtar.Nobody knows the compulsions under which Rampal decided to go with Maqsood and not Dawood.

Son of an unemployed working class man who shed his origins to become one of Mumbai’s most dreaded dons – there is a lot in ArunGawli’s story to intrigue and interest. His writ ran large in the city’s Dagdi slum and he went on to wield political power too. But AshimAhluwalia’s (of Miss Lovely fame) Daddy is not about that ArunGawli. His hero (played by ArjunRampal) may be a mob boss but he is not portrayed as a cold blooded killer. His ruthlessness is tempered by his love for his family, his criminal activities balanced by his loyalty toward his friends.

The fact that Daddy claims to be based on the “true story” of Gawli has a lot to answer for. We meet Gawli as a man who is true to those who have faith in him, loves his wife dearly and stands by his friends. In fact, he has the nickname of ‘Daddy’ given to him by those under his protection. The filmmaker is so bent on showing us the family man that we get but a few glimpses of the murderer and smuggler that he is.

The first half touches on Gawli's growth as a don and the second half attempts to stay with his life as a family man and politician. Married to a Muslim girl, Zubeida (Aishwarya), his secular streak is subtely touched. Though he converts his wife to Asha, he is large-hearted enough to play a benefactor to both communities during the Mumbai riots. In fact, the maximum drama here is depicted through the protagonist Arjun's own performance graph. Besides obviously altering his features to match Gawli's prominent forehead and nose, the actor cleverly imbibes his grunt and soft-spoken singsong manner, lending complete credibility to what is a first-rate act from the actor.

Unlike most gangster films, Daddy does not glorify its subject but it does worse. Daddy tries to justify Gawli’s actions with the decades-old filmy dialogue ‘gareebiuskasabsabadamistake tha’. In fact, at one point, a character even tells an investigating officer, “Agar aapekchawl me paidahotaaurwo (Gawli) ek police officer keghar to aapgundahotaaurwo police officer.”

Daddy demands patient viewing as it sets out to explore a new story delivery style while tackling the ever-popular gangster genre. As it walks the fine line between judgement and glorification, Daddy often feels like a bunch of headlines stitched together with fine handwriting managing to suck you back into a time that has shaped modern Mumbai.

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