It’s time to witness the power of pink! This Women’s Day, two icons of Indian cinema come together on the big screen to create a revolution.A fearless woman fights social injustice; creating a sanctuary for abused women and battling a crooked politician.
Straight on, Gulaab Gang’s deepest colour comes from its villain, Madam ji, a politician of supreme ambition and total crassness, played with aplomb by Juhi Chawla. The film’s central protagonist is rural Rajjo (Madhuri), who runs an academy where women wield weapons and weave pink saris. Rajjo’s Gulaab Gang takes on oppressive elements – dowry-demanding husbands, bribe-demanding babus, grain-hoarding traders, the rapist son of the local neta. The gang, led by Rajjo’s merry women including Mahi (Jagdale) and Kajri (Chatterjee), succeeds by winning hearts or breaking bones. But does Rajjo meet her match in unforgiving Madam ji?
Although GULAAB GANG raises a strong voice against years of patriarchal pain and suffering — one might assume it tilts towards arthouse cinema — the fact of the matter is, Soumik presents the classic conflict between good and evil like any other masala film, replete with high-voltage drama, song-and-dance routine and of course, action sequences. This time, the protagonist as well as the antagonist are women, the story is set in the hinterland, the issues they tackle pertain to women… while men are merely peripheral characters here. Also, unlike some films set in the hinterland, Soumik abstains from using cuss words/colorful lingo to belittle the oppressors here.
GULAAB GANG sheds light on the plight of women in a particular region, but the message resonates beyond the boundaries of the region it attempts to illustrate. The screenplay packs a couple of nail-biting episodes, which skilfully highlights the vulnerability of women in rural India. The fight against merciless husbands, crooked politicians and government machinery and the conventional and regressive attitude comes across effectively on varied occasions. In short, a number of sequences sting with honesty!