New = Bad?

Although the series is set in India, I feel Gangs of Wasseypur would clearly fit in with American shows about crime, corruption, and violence. The Khans climb to power and eventually let that power get to their heads and pay the price for that power corruption along with the consequences of mingling with dangerous criminals like Ramadhir Singh and the Qureshis. The characters swear and use slang, use guns to control and intimidate people, and get lured by the lifestyle of money and power. Although they wear traditional clothing and eat traditional food, they also live in an urbanized, globalized world in which they watch movies at the theaters, ride motorcycles, wear westernized clothing, and more.

The India shown here differs from the India shown in movies like Mirch Masala and Gandhi. In those movies, Gandhi emphasizes the importance of relying on Indian goods instead of British goods, and the simplicity of the villagers in Mirch Masala are strongly contested with the extravagance and new technology of the British backed subedar. Also, in both those movies, unity is stressed, whether it is Gandhi advocating for all Indians to stick together regardless of caste or religion or the united women or the village as a whole against the subedar. In Gangs of Wasseypur, the new (and usually foreign) is viewed as better than the old like when Faizal Khan decides to get a pager to better communicate or when Sultan tells Ramadhir Singh he and his men need guns to be able to fight back against the Khans because blades aren’t good enough anymore. Because new technology becomes used to aid the gangs in their crimes, it becomes tinged with corruption and implies that new technology only worsens Wasseypur and Dhanbad. Also, there is little to no unity among Indians. Faizal’s father gets killed because he trusted Fazlu, who he believed was his friend, and later he tells his mother you cannot trust anyone. This proves true when Faizal gets killed by his own brother, Definite, who he trusted not to betray him. Ramadhir Singh gets betrayed by his son, J.P., who orchestrated his death by making a deal with Definite, the man Ramadhir supported throughout childhood, behind his back. The alliance between the Singhs and Qureshis gets broken even though the two originally united to fight a common enemy. Nagma and Nasir are loyal to the Khan family, specifically Sardar, and both suffer for their loyalty: Sardar cheats on and abandons Nagma and their children, and Nasir has to watch all of this family die while being helpless to do anything.

The India shown here shows a darker, grittier, and more pessimistic side. Nationalism doesn’t show up, and even the values of faith do not compel good even though most of the characters are Muslim.


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