Tamil star Suriya holds a strong following in Telugu states with mass and action flicks like Singham series. He is into Sankranti battle with Thaanaa Serndha Kootam dubbed in Telugu as Gang starring Keerthy Suresh, Ramya Krishna in female leads under the direction of Vignesh Shivan. Largely adapted from critically acclaimed hit Special 26 in Hindi, let us see how far Suriya and his gang succeeded in retaining the original flavor?
Tilak (Suriya) aspires to join Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) fails to fulfill his father;s wish due to corrupt system. Meanwhile, his friend dreaming to become a Police Officer commits suicide with the same corruption. An upset Tilak decides to take revenge on the system forms a fake CBI gang of his own with Bujjemma aka Jhansi (Ramya Krishna) and couple of others to conduct raids on unscrupulous politicians and businessmen. However, Uttam Das (Suresh Chandra Menon) and his senior officer (Karthik) on investigation to crack down the gang meet Tilak on their last heist at a jewellery shop.
Though Gang is an adaptation to some intelligent screenplay by Neeraj Pandey in Special 26, director Vignesh Shivan blended the concept with some strong South nativity centered on emotion, drama tackling a social evil called corruption. Right from frame one, Vignesh focused on making his screenplay as original as possible with witty writing and creation of clever instances. Those who enjoyed Special 26 to the core may fall shot of excitement and thrill but for others, Gang offers a fairly entertaining treat. Gang is not a racy ride unlike the original as audience may ask for more high points than what is packaged with. Dialogues are good in parts and sounded repetitive. Yet there is a burly Tamil flavor to distract Telugu audience. Dinesh Krishnan’s cinematography is too good and the bright color gradient keeps us glued to screen. Editing by Sreekar Prasad is tactical to keep up the coherence. Anirudh composed songs are easily neglectable while background is worthwhile. Production standards from UV and Studio Green are top notch.
About performances, Suriya looked confident and commanding through out. His own voice used for dubbing stood one basic highlight. It is fun to watch him rendering some serious dialogues in comic situations and fun lines in serious contexts. His handsome looks and amazing body language added more to natural charm. Keerthy Suresh hasn’t got much to perform. Ramya Krishna showed her seniority in keeping the things on go. Karthik is just ok while Suresh Chandra Menon had an eye catchy screen presence. RJ Balaji comedy with Priyadarshi’s voice is engaging. Senthil, Shiva Shankar master played their parts very well as con-men. Among the rest, there are only Tamil faces including the talented Thambi Ramaiah.
As we said earlier, Gang is one film that appeared small in front of Telugu big stars in Pongal battle field. Undoubtedly this is the best choice among new releases till now, if you are ready to spare a fact that it is a dubbing film. Suriya and Vignesh made Gang worth a watch with their lighter vein handling of a rather serious script. Every emotion, may it be Suriya-Thambi Ramaiah son-father affection or Suriya-Kalaiyarasan friendship or Suriya-Ramya Krishna fun touch, Suriya-Suresh Chadra Menon, Karthik conflicy, every thing is finely etched.
Movie starts off on a rather unconventional tone with zero resemblances to Special 26. In these portions, Vignesh brought a native element elevating the enemployement and dishonest officials in our bureaucracy during 1980s. Interview scene and a song there of establish the basic plot. It won’t take much time before Vignesh adopt the same bluffing screenplay when Suriya and team raid a Gandhian Minister. Ramya Krishna, Senthil, Shiva Shankar master character are strongly registered. In between, the suicide of Kalaiyarasan is presented heart touchingly. As CBI team headed by Karthik take on the mysterious case after the Hyderabad raid by Gang, we slowly head toward a challening interval block though romance with Keerthy Suresh is observed to be out of track.
Second half is open and direct conflict between original CBI and fake officer gang. More or less, Gang followed the sincerity and intensity of Special 26 in conducting the recruitment drive and allotting them first raid task on jewellery shop. Episodes here on are made engaging before we are pushed towards a new climax that is in fact rushed up and unconvincing ending the film on one more preachy note.
All in all, Gang is not the same serious film as Special 26. There is more focus on lighter vein treatment, lengthy romantic track and an emotional backdrop created centered on unemployment and corruption. Suriya and Vigensh Shivan made Gang appealing to large extent with good technicalities and high production values. Even if you’ve watched Special 26 multiple times, can give a definite time to meet this Gang in festive holidays. Commercial verdict aside, Cinejosh appreciates the Gang rating it with 2.75 stars and a far better film all Sankranti releases so far.