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Gangs of Wasseypur Completes 9 Years: How The Costumes Helped Shape The Tone Of The Characters


On-screen, it was a typical family set-up and there was the title track of Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi playing on an old-fashioned TV screen. Suddenly, the gunshots were fired on the TV screen and the startled audience in the movie hall, literally jumped from the seats (kudos to Anurag Kashyap for inspiring shivers-down-the-spine moment of the film audience). The gunshot moment actually made us realise that here comes the director, whose movie is going to be anything but candyfloss. The movie with such dramatic opening was Gangs of Wasseypur and it came in 2012 - 9 years ago. This was unlike any gangster film in the Indian cinema with subtle inspiration from City of God (like the characters introduction was reminiscent of the must-watch Brazilian crime film, City of God).

The director of the movie was Anurag Kashyap and the writer was Zeishan Quadri. Gangs of Wasseypur featured ensemble cast with Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadha, Piyush Mishra, Jaideep Ahlawat, Pankaj Tripathi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Reema Sen, Jameel Khan, and more, who performed convincingly. The movie also introduced Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi, Anurita Jha, and Vineet Kumar Singh (who had major roles in the second part). Centered around coal mafia and in the dust-laden streets portraying Dhanbad (as the film shooting was done in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh), Gangs of Wasseypur focused on political nexus, relationship dynamics, and ultimately it was the story of seeking revenge and rising in par with those who hold power. But the most interesting part about the movie was that the tone was dark comedy - the element that brought alive the character and their dialogues. For example, 'beta tumse na ho payega' is a dialogue as universal as this movie with signature raw charm.

However, between the plot, characterisation, lyrics and music, costumes also had a significant role to play in the movie. Subodh Srivastava, who has done costumes for movies such as Super 30 and the recent, Girl On The Train, was the costume designer of the movie. Gangs of Wasseypur was quite a challenge for the designer, as he had to dress the characters typically like the locals of Dhanbad but his observations and research helped. The kurta pyjama and shawls of Sardar Khan (Manoj Bajpayee) with dark kohl-lined eyes, quite plainly established him as an intimidating character. Sardar Khan's wardrobe also included shirt and pyjamas and dhotis with tight t-shirts, which made him look the typical local character. In contrast, Sultan Qureshi's (Pankaj Tripathi) kurta pyjamas and shawl gave a more structured look - though he wore same type of ensemble as Sardar Khan but a subtle difference in the structure of outfit gave a whiff of contrast to Sultan's character. Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) not only went on to become one of the most iconic villains of the Hindi cinema, but one look at his costumes and you would know that he is some top-notch politician. Such was the power of costumes done by Subodh Srivastava.

Ramadhir Singh's understated khadi kurtas with shawls draped from behind the neck, offered a more refined look than the often blood-stained and wrinkled kurta pyjamas of Sardar Khan. However, as far as costumes are concerned, the real transition was seen in Nagma Khatoon's (Richa Chadha) costumes. She was Sardar Khan's wife and in her younger days, Nagma is mostly shown flaunting red saree with two braids (unique hairdo). Apart from red, Nagma's loosely-draped sarees were mostly dipped in vibrant shades like green and yellow. However, towards the end of first part of the movie, Nagma was mostly seen in muted shades, giving a hint of dullness as the golden years of marriage fades away and upon learning the consistent philandering nature of her husband. There was also a sense of practicality and household routine that her clothes in the later half reflected. Durga (played by Reema Sen), who was Sardar Khan's second wife, stood in contrast to Nagma with more revealing blouses and earthy-hued sarees with eye-catching colour-blocks. Her outfits certainly captured her part coy and part bold character.

The sunglasses made such an impact in the movie, highlighting the shades of small-town romance. Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Mohsina (Huma Qureshi) actually form a connection not only because of their love for Hindi cinema and popular actors like Amitabh Bachchan but also because they both wore sunglasses. And this is where, the director and costume designer gave their spin to the making of characters (Faizal Khan and Mohsina) via costumes. If Faizal Khan with his grey shawl, dull shirts and trousers, and wavy middle-parted hairstyle showed how he is invested in cinema, Mohsina stands out with her brightly-patterned salwar suits and equally loud makeup. Faizal and Mohsina are contrasts and probably the opposite colour-palette of their outfits also showed that opposites attract. From a costume point of view as well, Gangs of Wasseypur struck right notes.

Pictures Credit: Stills From The Movie