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DADDY is gritty and well-constructed, but extremely slow-paced!

Marked by stellar performances from Rampal and the supporting cast, this true story of the gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli is quite a realistic portrayal. However, with a confusing narrative that runs at snail’s pace, DADDY fails to keep you engrossed for all of its duration. This one’s definitely watchable, but you need some patience and the mood to sit through this dark, real-life drama that unfolds very, very slowly.

From the rough streets and back alleys of Central Mumbai, DADDY is the sensational true story of Arun Gawli, a man who scripted his own destiny, eventually going onto become one of India's most feared gangsters. Today he remains an enigmatic figure; at once a volatile, power-hungry criminal for some and the respected "Daddy" or a modern-day Robin Hood for the working-class neighbourhood he belongs to. Spanning over four decades, DADDY follows the intertwined fates of the world-weary Gawli as he attempts to enter politics and a frustrated Police inspector with a secret history of his own.

Co-Written (alongwith Arjun Rampal himself) and directed by the highly acclaimed Ashim Ahluwalia, the film exhibits great craft in terms of texture, theme and veritable presentation of the story. It’s a brave attempt at clearly depicting the facts as they were and it makes for a delicious subject to watch a film on. What’s also good, is the fact that it stays clears of all the trappings of a mainstream gangster film, where lofty dialogues drive the narrative, rather than real content.

But that said, there are some problems which deprive you of the potential fun you could’ve had. Firstly, the pace of the screenplay is tiresome. You find yourself checking time in the middle of the film and getting digressed way too often. Even the first half seems much longer than it actually is. Apart form that, a major problem in the screenplay is the confusion it creates with frequent switching between the flashback and present. You literally have to wait for Arjun Rampal to arrive on screen, to make out from his appearance, whether we’re seeing a scene from the past, or present. This makes the movie watching experience not so smooth.

Warts-and-all, the performances are first class. Arjun Rampal (who’ also the co-writer and producer of the film), playing Arun Gawli is exceptionally real. Not just his appearance, his demeanour looks absolutely authentic. Perfectly poised, he will win you over with this bravura act of his. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well Farhan Akhtar portrayed Dawood Ibrahim’s character (name changed in the film to ‘Maqsood’). His brief role is quite convincing. All others, including Aishwarya Rajesh and Nishikant Kamat, play their parts extremely well.

To sum up, DADDY is a good film that is bogged down by a flawed script. If well-acted, dark dramas is your thing, watch this one, but be a little patient. Watchable, but not highly recommended!

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