Gang Leader Review: A passionate yet fake writer and a motley bunch of women with a thirst for vengeance is the oddest gang you could root for. And yet, Vikram K Kumar brings together an unlikely set of people to headline Gang Leader. And sure enough, with their various quirks and mannerisms, Nani and his gang of revengers set out to keep you entertained. They succeed — but only in parts.
Gang Leader begins with a bank robbery, where after carrying out the heist with surgical precision, one robber takes all the money for himself and kills everybody else. Fourteen months later, the kin of the other five robbers come together to seek revenge. But they can’t do it alone. They take the help of writer Pencil Parthsarathy (Nani) who specialises in revenge novels. They soon realise that he’s a fraud — who basically plagiarises popular English films to write his novels. So Kill Bill becomes Rasidhu Ni Champu and No Country for Old Men becomes Moddulaku Desham Ledu. They soon discover that the person responsible is leading car racer Dev (Karthikeya), but taking revenge is easier said than done.
Gang Leader begins on a promising note. Nani’s character is endearing and you can’t help but fall for his innocence and charm. You wonder why a little girl is involved in a revenge story — especially given how the chief architect of the plan (Lakshmi) speaks blatantly about killing the person responsible. The five women — although impressive — don’t really bring the house down, and it’s left to Nani to infuse some much-needed humour into the script, with some help from Vennela Kishore and Priyadarshi, who are both hilarious.
The trouble is, Gang Leader tries to be too many things at once and doesn’t really do justice to any one aspect. One minute it’s a comedy about a writer’s detective skills, then there’s a parallel love track between Nani and Priyanka (with a sincere performance), which never really takes off. The mystery behind the various twists and turns hardly makes an impact, and the whole cat-and-mouse game between Nani and Karthikeya (who seems to have just one expression throughout the movie), falls flat. The melodramatic twists — the reason behind the robbery in the first place and hidden secrets of the revengers — frustrates the viewers even further. Add to it a couple of ill-placed songs and a poorly written screenplay ensures a potentially promising script falls short of expectations.
Nani is the film’s heart and soul and brings Gang Leader to life with his charm, wit and classic humour. But the haphazard nature of the script, a sluggish screenply and an overdose of melodrama hampers what had the potential to be a total laugh riot. The film’s USP is its humour, but when even that isn’t the best it could be — you know you’re in trouble.