Ever since Anurag Kashyap set a trend with Gangs Of Wasseypur, gangsters spewing the crudest of abuses (the mother-abuse topping it all) and unleashing unbridled violence with impunity, has become the favourite cocktail of the filmmaker’s followers.
Add to it writer-director’s Tigmanshu Dhulia’s fondness for campus politics in the Hindi heartland which he displayed way back with Haasil (2003), and thus is born a new show called Garmi.
Keeping in mind that Tigmanshu played Ramadhir Singh, the main protagonist of Kashyap’s Wasseypur, his comfort zone is student politics, netas, gangsters and cops who are hand-in-glove with all things nefarious. Passing the UPSC, becoming a Collector or District Magistrate or joining the police force, are the chief goals of studious young adults in the UP-Bihar belt.
That’s the aspiration of brooding Arvind Shukla (Vyom Yadav) too, son of a decent teacher.
But Arvind’s garmi (hot headedness), which is established right away, is going to trip his ambitions.
The blend of gangsters, students, politicians and policemen has become tiresomely repetitive on OTT. With a penchant for forced backside entries by men (a cop tortures a goon by ramming his backside and ripping it, a daku is caught for what he did to a constable’s son, there are screams in jail from victims as perps do it with impunity), abuses galore, violence and swagger, even boastful videos of murders being committed (a la Kanhaiyalal’s killers?) and a wrestling academy with half-clad men in the sandpit, Tigmanshu doesn’t even attempt to be different.
Except that he seems to have given himself a mandate to showcase Hindus as an awful community that stands divided by caste. Every goon is named Brajesh or Sudhir or Bhaiya. Atiq Ahmeds are rare in this land. Tigmanshu’s aim is made all the more obvious when Govind Maurya (Anurag Thakur), the snakiest villain of them all, sports a tilak on his forehead, his manipulative political master is akhada owner Bairagi Baba (Vineet Kumar) who has his VIP tentacles spread in every direction, the akhada has a women’s team of bhajan singers for Babaji’s entertainment, and his right hand man Jaiswal (Pankaj Saraswat) dips into his khaata (account) to fund all that’s illegal and calls it ‘dharm ka khaata’.
It takes a few episodes to figure out whose voiceover makes intermittent comments on what’s going on, beginning with going tsk, tsk over Hindi medium topper Arvind Shukla, the good boy with the bad garmi. Arvind is conscientious enough to pore over books and pick up English, he’s everything that heroes aspire to be by winning the affection of Surbhi (Disha Thakur), the belle of the campus, bagging the lead role of Hamlet and becoming the university hero for beating up molesters. But the unwavering focus is so much on showcasing the caste virus that’s supposedly prevalent in every Hindu that Arvind’s character comes off as inconsistent.
For a smart student who resists politics, Arvind jumps into every heated debate. For a guy who’s supposed to be essentially nice, he uses his friend Ajay like a sidekick and vents his temper on him whenever he feels like it. For a young man in single-minded pursuit of the UPSC exam, he calmly picks up a gun to shoot a gangster and beats up a dreaded daku, like he has no idea what the consequences of his drastic actions will be. All through, his family back home doesn’t get even a whiff of what’s happening in his life, like they’re living under a rock.
Dialogues veer between the difference between ‘daring’ and ‘bewakoofi’, ‘kaleje mein toofan’ to describe Arvind’s garmi and the Babaji predicting that Arvind’s destiny is ‘Not to become a sarkari adhikari but sarkar banana’.
The spine is the transformation of Arvind. But the overwhelming covering is of a caste-ridden community. Cop Mritunjay Singh (Jatin Goswami) who wants kshatriyas to become the predominant fighters of the land, a rickshawala and his doctor-brother who are regularly slapped around and humiliated for daring to desire an education, Arvind’s folks who won’t entertain a Dalit friend in their house, politicians and sundry others who spew caste in every action and dialogue.
Mukesh Tiwari gets top billing but makes only a cameo as Dilbag the dacoit.
The one element that works is a controlled performance by Jatin Goswami as the dangerously caste-conscious cop.
But get ready for another season of the same stuff as Tigmanshu Dhulia signs off with Arvind Shukla at the crossroads and two teams of baddies on his trail.
Watch Garmi Trailer:
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