Gangs of Wasseypur – Part I


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PrintInternational Arthouse Series

Gangs of Wasseypur – Part I

  1. Saturday, February 22, 2014 7:00 p.m.
Still image from the film Gangs of Wasseypur

Unreleased in the U.S.

In late colonial India, Shahid Khan loots British trains, impersonating the legendary outlaw Sultana Daku. Cast out from Wasseypur, Shahid becomes a worker at Ramadhir Singh’s coal mine, only to spur a revenge battle that is passed on to subsequent generations. Years later, Shahid’s son, the philandering Sardar Khan, vows to get his father’s honor back and becomes the most feared man of Wasseypur. Staying true to its real life influences, the film explores a revenge saga through the socio-political dynamic of poverty-stricken Bihar (North India). Set in the coal and scrap trade mafia of Wasseypur, the film defies the conventions of mainstream “Bollywood” cinema. In Hindi language with English subtitles. Dr. Meheli Sen, a noted Bollywood scholar at Rutgers University, will introduce. (2K DCP presentation)

South Asian Gangster Films

These films are not the standard Bollywood fare of song and dance routines, simplistic love stories, and happy endings. They represent a new breed of Indian filmmaking that has captured critical attention from both Western and Indian media by dispensing with most Bollywood conventions in favor of well-developed characters and storylines. What really makes these films stand out is not just their stylistic quality, but their serious engagement with a myriad of social issues relevant to contemporary India and its modernity. Through the lens of criminal gangs, they examine issues such as caste prejudice, political corruption, police complicity in criminal activity, the rural-urban divide, the breakdown of traditional family structures, and the inherent violence of Indian life, including against women. Special thanks to Michael Dodson.