Gang Leader Review (No Spoilers): A Happy Revenge Movie

What a good movie! What a happy silly fun goodhearted movie. Once again, Nani has stolen my heart. You should all go see this IMMEDIATELY.

Nani is “the natural star” and that’s what makes me love him so much. While Telugu cinema is filled with actors who are something more supernatural than natural, actors who always say the perfect thing and win every fight and are never cowards or fools, Nani is as human as anyone else. Human, but still a hero. Nani is never mean spirited or cruel in his films, he loves people too much for that. But he also loves people too much to ever think he is better than any of the rest of them.

Image result for gang leader 2019 poster

All of this is what I am saying about his character in this movie, but it could also be said about Nani as a star. He doesn’t use his star power to make movies that elevate him, he uses it to make movies that make fun of the whole idea of stardom, of some perfect man who can do perfect things. Nani isn’t the “hero” of this movie (except for in the requisite fight scene), the hero of the film is Lakshmi. Elderly tough funny Lakshmi, she’s the important character who sets everything in motion.

This whole movie is about women, that’s what the title is nodding towards. At least, I think so. Thanks to a nice reader here, I know that “Gang Leader” is the title of a famous Chiranjeevi movie. I just looked it up, and it appears to be your usual “troubled young man” story. Our hero’s life is filled with men, his gang of friends, his enemies, his brothers, and so on. That’s what “gang leader” evokes, a troubled lost youth roaming with other troubled lost youth. But this movie turns it around, brings forward the people who were pushed to the back in the earlier film, the women that those troubled youth leave behind, the women they hurt without even realizing or remembering that they are hurting them. That is Nani’s “gang”, the ones who most heroes would be too cool to associate with.

And his “gang” is a great cast. Mostly Lakshmi of course, I love her as an actress and I love that directors know how good she is as an actress. I’ve yet to see a film where she is stuck playing the “normal” kind of mother or grandmother role. She’s always the second lead next to the hero, wearing her white wig and making faces and striding around. Saranya Ponvannan was right behind her. The rest of the gang is fine, not a stand out. But that’s normal for casting this kind of film, the hero is a big name, the second and third lead are big names, the rest are good enough. Only in this case, the second and third lead are middle-aged and past middle-aged women, it is the villain and the heroine roles that get stuck with the inexperienced type of actors.

Really, this is just a delightful movie! Lovely funny hero, kind strong interesting women around him, a nice message about the importance of family relationships (not the lip service kind of message most films give but a sincere true one), and all of it done with the light touch that says “you know and I know that this is just a movie, so let’s relax and have some fun with it.”

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15 thoughts on “Gang Leader Review (No Spoilers): A Happy Revenge Movie

  1. I’m glad it’s a good movie and that you liked it!

    The first movie I’ve seen Lakshmi in is a Mahesh Babu movie called Murari and she was so good in that. There’s actually this one scene where she’s so good that I cry every time I see it. Murari is such a good movie but the only reason I never recommended it to you is because the family relationships are very confusing. The movie came out in 2001 so I’ve been watching it almost my entire life but I didn’t understand the relationships until like fifteen years later. You should give it a try if you can find the movie with subtitles.

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    • I love Murari too.. It’s one of my favourites of Mahesh Babu films and one that started my love affair with him…I love the relationships between all the characters too

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      • I just looked it up and I am distracted that Lakshmi played the younger woman and Sukumari was the grandma! I think of Lakshmi as forever a grandma 🙂

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        • The movie is almost 20 years old! She’s not a grandma but she was still great as Mahesh’s mother.

          Sonali Bendre was in Murari and she had really good chemistry with Mahesh. I always wondered why they didn’t act together again because they were so cute and charming together.

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        • “I think of Lakshmi as forever a grandma”

          Ouch! These are depressing words for those of us who remember Lakshmi as a top heroine of Telugu and Tamil films. 😦

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    • You’re right about confusing relationships in Murari. I too needed two watches to understand, although I’m Telugu. Loud dialogs and action, as in KV’s movies is also another reason.

      Main reason – Satyanarayana (Laxmi’s husband) is Mahesh’s elder brother, but calls latter “Nanna”(father) in respect to their father. Mahesh calls Laxmi, his sister-in-law (bhabhi) as Amma as she brought him up after early death of his parents. Sonali is cousin (sister) to Laxmi

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    • It really is a good movie! In that light fun Nani kind of way. You should check it out if you have a chance.

      On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 11:03 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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    • If I am thinking of the right actor, he was bad as in “evil”, but not that bad as in his performance.

      The cinematography was good, I didn’t notice it as particularly unusual for a Telugu film. Different a little, to fit the feel of the movie, less bright colors and silly look to it, but about the same as any other more realistic feeling movie look.

      On Fri, Sep 13, 2019 at 4:04 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  2. Your last paragraph describes the movie perfectly!

    I know you’ve already seen Manam and 24 so I would recommend you check out Ishq and Hello out of Vikram Kumar’s other movies. Ishq is a fun rom-com with Nithiin and Nithya Menen in it. There’s nothing really new or unique about Ishq but it’s just a really good rom-com with leads that have really good chemistry. Also Ajay has a pretty important supporting role in it as well. Hello on the other hand is a cute rom-com with the childhood romance separated and meet again as adults trope. Hello is starring Akhil Akkineni and Kalyani Priyadarshan and it tends to try to showcase Akhil as an action hero at times but I still thought it was really cute. Oh yeah, Hello also had Ramya Krishna and Jagapathi Babu in important roles.

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