Gang Leader Movie Review: A fascinating premise that deserved a more satisfying film

Director Vikram Kumar tries to do catchy things at almost every juncture in his films. These may not come together as appealingly in Nani’s Gang Leader as they may have in other films of his, but you can see that the writing is a product of decent thought. Even the smoking disclaimer before the film is differently conceived. The director, it seems, is never short of catchy, imaginative what-if premises. What if the events in a creepy teleserial begin to come true (13B)? What if a son had to travel back in time to stop his parents from being murdered (24)? What if a man and woman cannot get together because they are still not over the love of their lives—younger versions of each other (Hello)? Nani’s Gang Leader is the result of a what-if too: What if a group of lonely, grieving women were helped by a failed author to avenge the fallen men in their lives? It’s fascinating in theory, but where the moments—those crucial building blocks—come together to prop up the what-if in his previous films, they don’t quite do the same in Gang Leader.

It’s the makers’ job to sell the believability of a premise. At the outset, it’s hard to buy some key developments in Gang Leader. You don’t buy that Saraswathi (Lakshmi) unites a group of strange women—and a girl child—as easily. You don’t buy that these women join her murderous mission as easily. You don’t buy the need to approach a fiction writer, Pencil Partharasarathy (Nani). You don’t buy the rapidity of his integration into their group. These checkpoints aren’t the problem. The conveniently rushed journeys are. It’s the director channeling his inner Steve Austin: “Cause I said so.”
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