My first impression of Gangs of Wasseypur was that it was an ultraviolet mix of The Godfather and Green Street Hooligans (just a feeling, not a precise judgement, alright?) My second was that it is ultra long. My third, and this one is fairly important, was that we got to see a fair amount of both urbanization (how a city affects the characters and vice versa) and movements between classes. Also it is seriously massively long.
The vulgarity and the violence are both aspects that I would not expect to see on American television. They edit half of Gordon Ramsay’s dialogue, and SVU is really good at beating around the bush, that being said we are still not strangers to violence portrayed on the screen. Gangs of Wasseypur, however, was a bit of a shock to the system. The violence was not just in innuendos, we saw it. And though I can happily distance myself from Italian mobsters (they’re only in Robert Di Nero movies, right?), I had a difficult time not being deeply affected by the active, and frequent violence in Gangs of Wasseypur. On some level I found understanding in knowing that even this brutality could never live up to the real thing, but it must be able to represent the events in the lives of very real people. I think the Gangs of Wasseypur did that in the most semi-dramatic, but still striking and realistic way possible.
It was definitely a saga of theatrical proportions, but seeing the issues among and between the classes was a new aspect to my western eyes. Seeing the way a city far from any I have ever seen gave me a sense of the scale in which these people conducted their daily lives. And beginning in 1941 I could really get a full grasp on how long issues like these have been stewing, and affecting the lives of real people that I can hardly imagine.