wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

A relatively engaging last half hour. Only if you can sit through gun fight after gun fight after gun fight that is typical of a film based in the underworld.

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Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
Running time: 130 minutes
Genres: Crime
More Movie Info

Daddy - Preview

The trailer has a very Sarkar-esque feel to it. Which also means it has the Ram Gopal Varma touch to it. Now, that could really go either way, but one will walk into the theater with skepticism.

The story again, doesn't seem to be any different from the other mafia leader-Robinhood stories we have seen plenty of. The only thing that seems worth looking forward to is Arjun Rampal as Arun Gawli. The make-up, the beetlenut-stuffed mouth seems to be spot on. Hope the rest of the performance follows through. And of course, I hope against hope that the story has some other factor that differentiates it from the rest of the films in this sub-genre – more depth, if nothing else. Else, the question would remain unanswered – are all these films as close to reality as it gets or is this film keeping arms distance from reality too?

Daddy releases on 8 September, 2017

Music Review:
Times of India - "perfect mood to this qawwali...adds that archetypal festive feel to the song...."

- meeta, a part of the audience

There is nothing remarkable about Daddy for about an hour and a half of the film. The film looks and feels like any other mafia gang war film and the story is exactly that too. The last half hour or so has some actual meat to it, showing us a peek into what Arun Gawli (Arjun Rampal) thought and did.

Daddy, comes across as an earnest defense for one of the most feared men of his times.

While relentless gun fights, gory violence included, is a given in a film of this genre, the narrative tool used was the most off-putting. You follow Inspector Vijay (Nishikant Kamat) as he interviews people close to Gawli – his mother, his associates, his friend's girlfriend and so on. Which would have been fine, if he was learning about Gawli along with the audience. Here, the inspector clearly ought to have known whatever he was interrogating about in the first place and in fact even says so at one point. This “tell, don't show” structure kept me at an arm's distance through most of the film.

It doesn't help that the subject of the film – the glorification of a renown mafia leader – isn't enticing in the first place. Even if he took from the rich to give to the poor, even if he wished to reform himself, even if his heart was never into violence to begin with – his misdeeds aren't easily forgivable. Also, there is always a nagging feeling that under the garb of an impartial take, there still lies a bias in the story-telling. I strongly sensed that we weren't being given the whole story made a little more obvious by the gaping holes in the story.

There were other elements in the story that seemed more gratuitious than the need of the situation. These mostly related to the scenes with sexual intimacy. Given the context, none of them made them were a necessary part of the story.

Fortunately, you have believable performances across the board. The action-heavy nature of the film doesn't necessarily need a huge variety of emoting, but Arjun Rampal, Nishikant Kamat, Aishwarya Rajesh, Rajesh Shringarpore keep things real.

In terms of the milieu too, the grungy, sepia tone works. I must say though, the men's hairstyles were quite distracting. Many of them felt like they were uncomfortable in their wigs instead of the hairdo blending with the characters.

Daddy, comes across as an earnest defense for one of the most feared men of his times. I lived in Mumbai during those times. I don't remember hearing of any of his Robinhood deeds. Maybe they were deliberately kept under wraps. If this film was made to invoke sympathy for a man who might wrongfully be in prison today, it didn't really do much in that direction. Lacking balance, it just might have pushed the audience, that can be bothered to care, even further in the other direction.

- meeta, a part of the audience

30 reviewers(?) - 6 yays 12 so-so 12 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...See the film, maybe twice over to get the nuances. See it for the austere unflinching portrayal of violence. For sounds and visuals that do not afford us the luxury of aesthetic gratification. And most of all, for Arjun Rampal powerful performance that creeps up on us without warning. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Dev Raj Gulati, Desi Martini : ...Despite being a gangster ,one empathised with the plight of the criminal post the birth of a daughter. ... full review

Thumbs up, Free Press Journal : ...It looks so unrehearsed so spontaneous….just like the film where the characters probably existed long before the writer and director thought about them. We just didn’t know or care.... full review

Thumbs up, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...Daddy seems to build on the legacy of Satya while pushing the Indian gangster film into darker, more ambiguous territory. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...In the film, an arms dealer explains, "Automatic se jyaada gavti par bharosa hain, jam nahin hota." And while the chillam-puffing Shiv-bhakt wielded both, this film reinforces that Daddy's most destructive weapon was his mind. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, Times of India : ...If you like crime drama, Daddy is bound to fuel your imagination. Gawli is a part of India's crime-history. And this is the closest you will come to 'encountering' him.... full review

So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...If you like slow and dark crime dramas, then Daddy is certainly for you, but if you are seeking a pacy period thriller, then you will be highly disappointed. Daddy is nothing but one of the boring chapters of a history book. ... full review

So-So, by Tushar P. Joshi, DNA : ...Technically, Daddy is one of the best films to come out this year with an applause worthy performance by Arjun Rampal, however, it fails to leave an impression on you with its weak narrative and sluggish pace. ... full review

So-So, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...The big problem with the film is its middle-of-the-road ambitions. It’s a commercial film that’s trying to be as authentic as a documentary and as sublime as an art film.... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...You may admire the integrity of the lead performances, the impeccability of the Period detailing and the astonishing lighting and camera work but you will still feel hard-pressed to stay awake because the narration falls way too flat to make any discernable improvement in your enthusiasm. ... full review

So-So, by T J Reddy, : ... While those bloated messes have issues of their own that make them reasonably unenjoyable, a personal, tight-knit effort like Daddy needs to stand on a foundation of bravura filmmaking in exchange of posturing and chest-thumping. And it is in this regard that Daddy war bucks can't save his pet project.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gauri, Khaleej Times : ...Daddy fails as a biopic for its one-dimensional tone, and it is not the average commercial entertainer. But if you love the craft of cinema, watch it, if only for its production values and - yes- for Arjun Rampal! ... full review

So-So, by Satish Sundaresan , koimoi : ...If you are a die-hard fan of Arjun Rampal or such genre of films, then, the film Daddy is a must watch for you. And for the rest of you, except for Arjun Rampal and the production values in the form of the recreation of the era gone by, there is hardly anything to boast about in the film ... full review

So-So, by  Letty Mariam Abraham , MiD DAY : ... Watch it to see Rampal in one of his best performances till date, for a story without frills and only if you have a penchant for crime dramas.... full review

So-So, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...Nevertheless, if you are a fan of Rampal and/or Mumbai gangland lore, Daddy should make your weekend interesting.... full review

So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...The movie feels like they have crammed too many things into the movie, but you know that the filmmaker is being clever by not giving you time to think. There is action, action and more action, even though Gawli himself is laconic and deliberate. This film is different (and is not just the strange prosthetic nose which makes the gorgeous Arjun Rampal look scary) and you will enjoy the difference. ... full review

So-So, by Karan Bali, Upper Stall : ...But finally for all its pluses and minuses, it’s the two star performances that let the film down a notch as both actors are inherently average performers. Arjun Rampal’s sincere act of the reluctant Robin Hood like don seeking to go legit via politics, though easily one of his better performances, still makes Gawli come off as one of the duller characters of the film. But to be fair to him, Gawli’s characterization too plays a hand in this. And Farhan Akhtar’s casting as Dawood (called Maqsood here) just doesn’t come off. Script problems aside, just taking care of these two issues could have resulted in a cracker of a film. As it is, Daddy ends up as an undeniably good effort but has you ruing that it could have been so much more. ... full review

So-So, by Ritika Handoo, Zee News : ...This might not be a perfect high-octane action-infused gangster flick but if biopics interest you, go for it! ... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...Moreover there remains one point which doesn’t really feature in the film depicting the past decades in Bombay. And it’s about a strong division and biased support given to these Dons as per their religion by birth. In other words, here too we had the divisions (and allegations) as a Hindu Don and a Muslim Don following their own preferences. ... full review

Thumbs down, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, DADDY is a poor show due to its incoherent script and weak direction. Arjun Rampal’s performance is the sole factor that makes the film realistic. Watch it if you are a fan of Arjun Rampal or gangster flicks. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Bharadwaj, Desi Martini : ...The movie has some moments and some narrative before interval which is totally lost post interval. The presentation of the entire movie is kept subtle and you expect the movie to shift gears but the feel remains that of driving a car in the second gear for two hours. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Disha Dhingra, Desi Martini : ...Overall, it is a typical political thriller but Arjun Rampal effectively holds the film together.... full review

Thumbs down, by Vishal Verma, : ...But the worse is still to come, in the end, DADDY tries to gain sympathy for the allegedly dreaded criminal. The dialogue 'gareebi uska sabsa bada mistake tha' may have worked in a routine fictional gangster drama but here it backfires. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times : ...Given the time frame of the protagonist’s story, the film has a retro look. Unfortunately, even its treatment belongs to the 80s when makers tried to justify the protagonist turning to crime by pointing out his sufferings “before he turned into one”. The state machinery must take better care of the citizens and ensure basic amenities but the system’s faults cannot be used to justify a criminal’s action. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Daddy isn't lionizing or demonizing its hero but in its neutral stance it is also does not do a credible job of making him compelling for the audience. As Gawli makes a plea for an opportunity to redeem himself by doing public service one wonders if the Shiva devotee knows that karma's a bitch and it always catches up with you. Audiences won't cheer nor be mesmerised by Daddy and it's this detachment from the leading man that is Daddy's biggest pitfall.... full review

Thumbs down, Indicine : ...Conclusion: Daddy is a cautionary tale of not just a person who can go wrong because of the company he keeps, but it is also a cautionary tale of an indie director who leaps frog into commercial cinema too soon without toning down his sensibility. Daddy is a beautifully put together film which leaves no impact at all, and makes all the effort of the case and crew futile because of lackadaisical direction. Daddy is one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Kirti Tulsiani, : ...Daddy might be a brave attempt and Ahluwalia should be credited for the unconventional storytelling, but in totality, the film feels like a wasted opportunity. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Prasanna D Zore, Rediff : ...My biggest issue with this film is that Rampal plays it safe with facts, events and characters while bringing to the screen the life of one of the most colourful dons -- (ironically, Gawli preferred to always dress in white -- pajama, kurta and Gandhi topi), not character-wise, but because of the colour he added to being a gangster by dabbling in politics and corporatisation of the mafiosi -- of the Mumbai underworld. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, : ...Despite all that works for the film, what kills it in the end is déjà vu. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Daddy tries its level best to escape the tropes of Bollywood but doesn’t always manage to do that... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Sachin Sharma

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads, relentless through most of the film
  • Language: A few abusive words in Hindi
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of making out scenes including lip-to-lips
  • Concept: Based on the true life of underworld don, Arun Gawli
  • General Look and Feel: Dark to presumably make give it an intense feel. It is in fact, too dark at times. This one I mean literally and figuratively too.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

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