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‘Gurgaon’ Review: Silences Say More Than Words in This Noir Drama

A lot hinges on the cast and they certainly do come good.

Updated
Movie Reviews
2 min read

Gurgaon, one of the biggest economic hubs neighbouring Delhi, has an uneasy coexistence of the old and the new. The jungle giving way to a concrete labyrinth of skyscrapers that dot the horizon with hollowness is almost chilling. The humongous houses with lawns and pools, nightclubs, jazzy cars and sprawling malls with all their glitter can’t contain the cesspool of naked ambition, and all the bestiality that it threatens to bring along.

The opening lines of Gurgaon hint at man’s primal instinct as we are but animals still, and with this apt backdrop, critically acclaimed cinematographer Shanker Raman spins his noir thriller, ‘Gurgaon’ being cast almost as a character.

It’s a good ol’ family drama where dinner table silences reveal more than conversations. Kehri Singh (Pankaj Tripathi), the family patriarch and real estate baron, dotes on Preet (Ragini Khanna), his daughter. This preferential treatment leaves his sons feeling neglected, especially Nikki (Akshay Oberoi) who triggers a chain of events which ultimately lead to the entire family’s undoing.

Vivek Shah’s camera work, together with Shanker Raman’s own sensibilities, upholster the sometimes barren setting into rich dark frames that resonate with a sense of secrecy and urgency.

A lot hinges on the cast and they certainly do come good.

Pankaj Tripathi has rarely ever been a disappointment and here his silent brooding Kehri Singh is so compelling and beautifully understated that we invest a lot more in the plot, thanks to him. Ragini Khanna as the unsuspecting daughter has a limited role but makes her presence felt. Akshay Oberoi with his steady steel gaze harnesses his sinister moves to brilliant effect. His other cohorts, which includes his ineffectual but well meaning younger brother played astonishingly well by Ashish Verma, only add to the drama.

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While the screenplay remains largely focused, a lot of side tracks (like the role of Aamir Bashir) are abruptly added and pulled out, which might seem a little disconcerting.

Gurgaon is essentially about a family that has lots of skeletons in the closet. As far as thrillers go, it perhaps isn’t the last word. There aren’t a slew of shocks awaiting us –Shanker Raman instead chooses to let out the details slowly. But the crooked twist at the end gives us some clenched satisfaction. I give it 3.5 Quints out of 5.

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