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Marvel's Black Widow Review - More of the Same

If today's cinema world was a closet and you pull something out of it, you'd find yourself a superhero costume 70 percent of the times. Marvel's Black Widow is just another pretty looking and flashy costume, with little to no design modifications. Nonetheless, its an entertaining film and here's our verdict.  Film  – Marvel's Black Widow (2021) Duration  – 2h 14 m Director  – Cate Shortland Main Cast - Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour Rating  – 3 / 5 (It's a spoiler-free review) Black Widow acts as a fitting tribute to MCU's fan-favorite character but at the same time it is just more of the same stuff we see in a superhero flick. For one thing this film is about 5 years too late and for another, it doesn't really do anything for Black Widow's character or MCU as a whole. In my opinion it was just a cheap trick to encash the fans' emotions after losing her in Avengers: Endgame. Well, its not a bad film

Revisits - Satya: OG of gangster films in Bollywood

What are we gonna talk about today? Well, the film which gave us “King of Mumbai”!

Film – Satya (1998)

Duration – 2h 51m 

Director Ram Gopal Verma

Main Cast - J.D. Chakravarthy, Manoj Bajpayi, Urmila Matondkar, Shefali Shah, Saurabh Shukla and Paresh Rawal

Rating – 4.5 / 5 (IMDB - 8.2)

When I was growing up and the only source of entertainment was TV and pirated DVDs, the only connection between me and “Satya” was the overly popular song “Sapno Me Milti Hai”, which was literally played at every wedding function/party I went to. We enjoyed it to the fullest and it still has a cult fan following, just like the movie which it was featured in.

Satya was released on July 3 1998, exactly 23 years ago. And it won’t be an overstatement to say that every single person, be if off screen or on screen, who worked on this film, is now considered a living legend in the film industry. That is just one of the thousand reasons why this film is special for anyone who knows Bollywood and loves the gangster film genre. There are not many films in Bollywood which were helmed together by Saurabh Shukla, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bharadwaj, Apoorva Israni, Ram Gopal Varma.

(Image: © Ram Gopal Verma)

When you look up to it’s premise on IMDb it says “An innocent man is embroiled in underworld after being falsely charged and sets out to punish the perpetrators who subjected his life to misery.”

But when we watch this film, we realize that it is much more than that. This is a film where we vouch for a gangster underdog who just wants revenge. We don’t know his origin story, but we see him as one of the common people we meet every day in markets, public transports and during our daily chores, known to the fact that his daily chores are illegal and criminal. I won’t say it humanises the criminals, but it certainly gives away the idea of how normal life can a criminal live too. Unlike the 80s Bollywood films where the only purpose of a roadside mugger was to wear a cheap neon net-like vest and killing the hero because the father of the heroine didn’t like him. Satya is much more than that in it’s essential first viewing. We see a man “Satya (J.D Chakravorty)” coming to Mumbai, working in a bar and living a low life, getting beaten by some men just because he didn’t make a drink properly for the old boss of the gang. We don't see our main protagonist, Satya, much but his dialogues and expressions during the whole film are absolutely masterclass.

(Image: © Ram Gopal Verma)

Then comes in the frame, Bhiku Mhatre (Manoj Bajpyee), when Satya is in jail. Honestly, I won’t even think twice before saying that Bhiku Mhatre stands as #1 in my “all time favorite characters in Bollywood films” list. The sheer energy Manoj Bajpayee has given into the role, made Bhiku’s character a legendary one. He is a loyal friend to Satya, treats everyone in the gang like his own family and never lets anyone down, but at the same time, Bhiku is also ruthless. He wants a balance between politicians and underworld gangs but he is willing to kill anyone who comes in his way. Slowly and gradually, Satya keeps shocking everyone with his smart and thrilling moves including killing the strongest pawns in the game. With Bhiku as his back, he feels like winning over the city of Mumbai. Hence, comes the most iconic scene of the film, where Bhiku is standing on a cliff, facing towards the vast Arabian sea and screaming “Mumbai Ka King Kaun” (Who’s the king of Mumbai) while declaring to the world that he has everything now. That he won! That he has Mumbai, he wanted the city and he now owns it.

(Image: © Ram Gopal Verma)

Though there are various characters in the film, but one of the major characters according to me, is the city of Mumbai. Mumbai plays a very significant role in this gangster underdog story and you know it’s a great film where even the places play such an important role, just like Lijo Jose Pellisary’s “Angamaly Diaries” (that film is my all time favorite). But hey, let’s celebrate RGV’s Satya for now. Mumbai is depicted as the queen, everyone wants to take over. There are politicians, who want underworld’s help to win election and win the queen, there are policemen like Amod Shukla (played by evergreen Paresh Rawal) and Khandilkar (played by an impeccable Aditya Shrivastav) who want to just rub the gangsters off the shoulders of Mumbai and then there are gangs who want to rule each other out. The film tells us the story of very low level hierarchy of gangs in Mumbai.

(Image: © Ram Gopal Verma)

This was an era when Ram Gopal Varma just stood out for his filmography, unlike today when it seems like he’s on a never ending bad trip. His last film which I really admired, was “The Attacks of 26/11” released in 2013. Talking about the characters, this film gave us memorable characters like Amod Shukla, Kallu Mama (Saurabh Shukla) , Vidya (Urmila Matondkar),and Bhiku’s wife Pyaari (Shefali Shah) and all of them had their fair share of screen time, considering the duration and subject of the film. Vidya and Satya’s chemistry is shown fairly in the film, but as I am fanboying Bhiku Mhatre right now, there is a scene where Bhiku’s wife Pyaari slaps him back after Bhiku slaps her! That scene is powerful enough to make you realize how different this film was as compared to other films of that time.

(Image: © Ram Gopal Verma)

There are many gangster films in Bollywood, like Vastav, Shootout at Lokhandwala, D and Anurag Kashyap’s magnum opus GOW, but all of these films seem to be paying homage to Satya for marking the beginning of a new era in Bollywood. Talking about it’s writing, Anurag Kashyap, Saurabh Shukla and Kona Venkat helmed the screenplay of this film and the writing is astonishing. The clarity about what the characters want in the story makes it even more special. It was an era when Govinda and other big stars were ruling the Bollywood, and according to the Director Ram Gopal Varma, he wanted to cast relatively less known faces because it would make the film look more authentic, which, obviously worked on a greater level.

Another masterpiece by Ram Gopal Varma, which should be on your list, if you enjoy Satya is, Company. I apologize if this article seems more like a love letter to Bhiku, but if you’re starting with the crime genre or want a taste of Bollywood gangster films, Satya should be on your list. (It is freely available on YouTube)

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