Save for the “baap” performance Arjun Rampal gives, the film disappoints overall
Rating: 2 / 5
The Story of Daddy and Arun Gawli
The story of Arun Gawli is already familiar to most of us. Yet, allow this Daddy film review on GHP recap it for you.
The dreaded gangster who started his career in crime in Dagdi Chawl, an area which used to house a large number of Mill workers in the 1970s. As the mills started shutting down, the rampant unemployment, the resultant poverty and despair made it easy for many youth to be attracted to crime and young Arun Gawli was one of them. Arun joins Rama and Babu’s Byculla gang. Their small-time criminal activities, including a murder, attract the attention of Maqsood who works for Bhai. This lands them a contract killing job. The trio carries out the job successfully.
Babu is bumped off by a former friend now seeking revenge. Rama and Arun continue with the gang’s activities but Arun is restless. He wants to branch out to create his own turf. This earns him the amused admiration as well as irritation of Bhai.
The plot thickens. Read more of the Daddy film review
On the personal front, Arun has fallen in love and married Zubeida. She has been urging him to leave the world of crime. Arun agrees and wants to break it to Rama but before he can, Rama is shot dead in a police encounter.
Arun has to continue on his own, however reluctantly. Bhai is constantly trying to get him and his ambitious plans out of the way, with direct attacks and even by tipping off the police.
Bhai is not the only enemy Arun has to worry about. Constantly close on his trail is cop Vijaykar who has his own vested interests and hunger to be declared the hero who nabs Gawli. When Arun is finally caught and spends almost a decade behind bars. Meanwhile, Maqsood and Bhai have fled to Dubai and Pakistan.
Arun contests elections from the jail. Once out from jail on bail, he uses his USP: Unlike the others, he did not run away and stands with his people. This, and the fact that he works a lot for the benefit of residents of Dagdi chawl,
wins him their eternal loyalty and love in return and the nickname “Daddy”. His political foray remains controversial. Gawli is a Robinhood for his electorate.
Vijaykar finally catches him for a murder of another MLA. Gawli is still behind the bars and waiting for an appeal.
The Verdict on Daddy
The usually delectable Arjun Rampal is not much of eye candy but gives a stupendous performance as Daddy. He slips into the character with flawless ease and makes the dreaded gangster and MLA become a real person with real vulnerabilities but retaining his sharp brained and powerful persona. That’s your main takeaway from this Daddy film review.
Farhan Akhtar, not revealed in any trailers, is a fabulous surprise and gives a smaller but power-packed performance as Bhai. Aishwarya Rajesh as Zubedia and Nishikant Kamat as Vijaykar add to authenticity of the biopic with brilliant performances. So does the rest of the cast.
If you are a crime film lover, you could enjoy this film as a one-time watch. However, for the average viewer, it fails to impress as there is nothing new to be told or revealed. For a biopic to truly work, lesser known facts, exciting anecdotes would make for the masala, which is totally missing here. Arjun Ramphal and the other actors carry the rather weak and uninteresting story on their able shoulders but the film falls flat.
To their credit though, the director and writers never make Arun Gawli a hero or an outright villain and remain neutral. And a very special mention to the make up team that transformed Arjun Rampal into Arun Gawli with uncanny resemblance.
I’d give it 2/5 where 1.5 is only for the performances!
Daddy starring: Arjun Rampal, Aishwarya Rajesh, Nishikant Kamat, Farhan Akhtar
Written and directed by: Ashim Ahluwalia
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