How Gangs of Wasseypur uses Suspense & Surprise

It has been 7 years since Anurag Kashyap’s gangster epic ‘Gangs of Wasseypur 1 and 2’ released and took the entire nation to witness a miracle. The film received a cult status in no time at all, thanks to the power packed dialogues and multi-layered characters.

After watching the film several times, I tried to figure out the finer nuances of filmmaking used quite intelligently in the film by Anurag Kashyap. There are lots of techniques used in cinema but it is very essential to find out as to which technique can be used where for the maximum effect.

Let us first consider an example:

  • Think of two friends sitting inside a restaurant having coffee.
  • They appear to have met after a long time and are happy discussing good old days.
  • Suddenly, one of them is SHOT.
  • He dies on-the-spot.

How did you feel?

Surprised??? Isn’t it??

YES. This is what we call as SURPRISE.

Now let us consider the same situation again, but this time, before showing the two friends in the restaurant, let us show a man with a gun approaching the same restaurant.

CUT TO:

  • The two friends inside the restaurant having coffee
  • The man takes out a photograph and looks at the two friends.
  • He keeps the photograph inside his pocket and moves towards the entrance of restaurant.
  • The two friends are still discussing their good old days.
  • The man takes out his gun and aims at one of them.
  • Both the friends look stunned.
  • The man pulls the trigger. BAM !!
  • And we CUT it there.

Now how did you feel?

Engaging ? Isn’t it? Better than the previous situation?

This is what we call as SUSPENSE.

Both these situations show that there has been a murder at a restaurant but the second situation involves the audience a little more than the first one because we have given some information to our audience initially that the two friends don’t know.

A lot of talented filmmakers use this technique in different situations and circumstances. It can create humor, horror, thrill, drama, adventure, etc. However, Anurag Kashyap used both SUSPENSE AND SURPRISE in Gangs of Wasseypur and I think he has done justice to both off them.

Let us now check the SURPRISE MOMENTS (mostly killing) in Gangs of Wasseypur. Most of it has been done through intelligent framing:

  1. Shahid Khan’s death scene

Here, an assassin Yadav ji murders Shahid Khan as he travels to Varanasi for business. If you carefully look at this scene, there is absolutely no build-up, no one is expecting this the way this scene starts but in one take, Yadav ji goes out of frame and Shahid Khan gets shot.

  • Fajlu’s killing scene

Again, the killing was not pre-determined at all. Yes, Faizal was seeking the revenge but the way it happens on screen does surprise us.

  • Sultan kills his sister Shama Parveen

As Definite throws a grenade at Shamshad’s office, Sultan chases him and lands up in Faizal’s house where his sister Shama is happy to see him. But Sultan kills her. The killing comes as a surprise.

  • Definite kills Faizal Khan

During enroute to prison, the police takes a halt at a roadside restaurant where Faizal sits alone inside the police van. In a second, we see Faizal getting shot by Definite who was working for JP all this while.

But that’s not all. The director has created some great dramatic moments in some of the scenes where the SUSPENSE builds up quite well before the resolution. Let us have a look at TWO such scenes:

  1. When Sultan attacks Faizal’s house

When JP asks Sultan to attack Faizal in his house, we see Faizal trying to escape through terrace. The shot has been taken entirely in one take and the camera stays with Faizal throughout without letting the audience know as to what is about to come. We think that he might get killed any moment but he narrowly escapes hurting his leg.

  • Sultan’s assassination

One of the most hilarious scenes ever written where Definite plans Sultan’s murder. We have 3-4 people talking on conference call which leads up to overlapping dialogues and confusion leading finally to Sultan’s death. The suspense builds with each passing shot as the character of Sultan has been developed quite well throughout and we all know a dreaded man that he his so the chances of goof up are really high but the execution happens as planned. Anurag Kashyap plays with his audience in this scene till the very end.

CONCLUSION

Well there are many other scenes (small and big) in the film where you would not anticipate anything at all but something strange happens. It augurs quite well for the introductory shots as well. Well, it tells a lot about the craft of director and a lot can be learned from this film other than a great story-telling and some unforgettable dialogues and punchlines.

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