So, at some point in time, the 80’s popped round to the YRF office for some macaroons and a latte (samosa and chai?Bitch, please) and Gunday was conceived. But it has to be said, this bursting at the seams homo-erotic homage to bromance and masala cinema entertains with a cracking chemistry, a devil may care drive and some very confused references all round. Best watched without applying too much logic (until instructed – a helpful guide is when shirts are buttoned up to hide oiled up heaving torsos), Gunday really takes its steam train motif powered by coal to the end of the line, with more concern for its destination than the journey itself.
Having said that, there is something very watchable about Gunday and this is largely down to the bromance between Singh and Kapoor which has a magnetism and intensity but seeks to include the audience rather than exclude. Whilst there are some clumsy stumbles and silly twists in the screenplay and characterisation, these are soon forgotten as the next station of action/song/man bonding quickly takes centre stage and engulfs the viewer so that the moment might be lost but the momentum never is. I also have to praise the costume design which is incredibly distracting in a good way – that large canvas has to be filled somehow!
Performance wise, Kapoor and Singh play off each other’s energies very well with Singh’s physical posturing neatly synced with Kapoor’s more deranged and calculated composure. Both embrace their roles with attack and have a bloody good time mouthing quotable dialogues and grappling one another at regular intervals. Chopra is very watchable and shines in the songs and the few scenes she is allotted. I did feel that Khan and Chopra were under utilised and both sensibly underplay their roles, aware that they are but second fiddle to the true star of the show – the bromance.
Whilst I would have liked more grit and darkness in Gunday (yup, all those coal mine set ups were not enough for me), it is still a very enjoyable watch and manages to avoid melting into a hot mess. With the bromantic genre heavily oversubscribed to, Gunday needed to bring something to differentiate itself and it does in form of making the central relationship feel modern and approachable. When viewed as an affectionate tribute to the masala cinema that burned with anger at injustice and acted as an extended escape from misery, Gunday does no harm with anyone and is probably best watched with that mindset. Not exactly unmissable but not one to avoid or ignore either.