Gang Leader cast: Nani, Lakshmi, Saranya Ponvannan
Gang Leader director: Vikram K Kumar
Gang Leader rating: 2.5 stars
Director Vikram K Kumar has used a liberal dose of coincidence in his new film Gang Leader while stringing together a story of revenge sought by a motley crew of unusual suspects. An elderly lady Saraswathi (Lakshmi) gathers a team of ladies, including a girl kid in her preschool years, to aid her in an effort to seek revenge. Varalakshmi (Saranya Ponvannan), Priya (Priyanka Arul Mohan), Swathi (Shriya Reddy), Chinnu (Praanya P Rao), each of them has lost a family member, all males. And they all join forces with Saraswathi to avenge their loved ones. But the team needs a sharp brain to plot the revenge against their faceless enemy. And they all end up at the door of Pencil Parthasarathy (Nani), an infamous writer, who has written 29 books, all of them plagiarised from a range of Hollywood movies.
When the team of ladies arrive at Parthasarathy’s house, by chance, the door is left unlocked. By chance, the women think it is okay to go inside the house without waiting for anyone to answer them at the door. By chance, they end up outside Parthasarathy’s writing room, where he is engrossed transcribing a scene from a film he’s watching on TV. By chance, he fails to notice the strangers pepping through a partially opened door. By chance, the ladies find out that all the books in Parthasarathy’s study are fake ones. In less than five minutes, by a series of incidents, the team finds out all the bluffs of Parthasarathy and decides to leave. By chance, Parthasarathy spots them leaving his house and confronts them.
Serendipity is the permanent quality of director Vikram’s films. Things just happen in his films for the benefit of good people. At times, the happy accidents also happen in favour of the villains. For example, when Dev (Kartikeya Gummakonda) is on the ropes, he gets much-needed help from an unexpected friend like a fighter is saved by the bell. One of Vikram’s favourite tool in his writer’s kit is ‘coincidence,’ which allows him to circumvent some difficult challenges in his scripts and lets him take the story forward.
Gang Leader is rife with such easy and major reliefs for characters in desperate situations, which undercuts the dramatic tension in the narration. It is because Vikram intends to make the audience laugh with this film. But his intentions are derailed by his methods to keep the humour light and breezy. This comic-style is not that effective with a film that has dark themes like — robbery, murder, vengeance, and revenge. Also, it may be because of the film’s general feel-good ambience, the film fails to tickle a funny bone when a five-year-old exhibits homicidal tendency by being the first volunteer to kill Dev.
We can also catch the whiff of Breaking Bad (men with cancer becoming criminals for the sake of their family). And the characters also behave like contestants of Bigg Boss show. Put together a group of strangers in one house for a while, they forget their goal and indulge in family drama.
Vikram’s writing in some parts is also quite entertaining, especially the sequences involving Vennela Kishore. Gang Leader has its moments, thanks to Nani’s effortless presence. He keeps the scenes lively and bright. It is not a bad film but that doesn’t mean it is outstanding either.