Straddling its own stylised artistry, a kind of transgressive, psychotropic exotica, this wild and unruly Bengali beast is the creation of Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee), who directed, shot, co-edited, production designed, and co-produced. The script, inspired from a story idea developed with Surojit Sen and mostly improvised by the cast, paints a rugged tale of rebellion and sensual abandon through the eyes of young Gandu (a bravura performance from Anubrata Basu), a passionate punk rapper struggling to break free from his domestic loathing.
Gandu befriends Ricksha (Joyraj Bhattacharjee), a cocky rickshaw driver, and together they embark on a self-styled odyssey of rogue, reckless indulgence. Gandu has sex, drugs, and anarchic hip-hop on his mind. Seeking to distance himself from his mother and her lover he steals their money and wastes time in the local cyber-café getting his rocks off on Net porn. Soon enough he is down the rabbit hole, the backstreets and alleyways, and into the wilderness, embarking on a more dangerous narcotic mission, eventually coupling with a colourful hooker who does more than just open his doors of perception.
Stunningly shot in (mostly) monochrome, utilising a dynamic music clip sensibility, with the notable exception when Gandu gets it on with the director’s girlfriend, Rituparna Sen, in a very explicit sex-set-piece, the black and white ejaculating into intense, vivid colour (and you realise the DVD cover art isn’t misleading). Reality and fantasy have become entwined; fear and desire are fucking the blues away. Gandu is living the dream, the glam gangster transformation engulfing his imagination, the chic of the street, naked and complete.
Gandu is strange and compelling, whilst provocative and irritating. Unlike any other Indian movie you’re likely to see, it grabs the Euro-erotic extreme – a la Gaspar Noe – by the horns and rides out its own throbbing technique. Theatre of the Oppressed caresses the random void, and makes a hardcore new wave escape. This is fiercely independent, aggressive cinema. Love it or hate it Gandu wears no rubbers, takes no prisoners, shoots in your face.
Gandu is distributed in Australia by Accent Film Entertainment.
Review by Bryn Tilly of www.cultprojections.com