But this Family of Thakurganj can be easily avoided. A poor screenplay, shoddy dialogues and Nandish Singh’s terrible show makes this crime drama highly unbearable
By Mayur Lookhar
Once set in the urban metros, the gangster paradises are increasingly finding a safe haven in small towns. The Hindi heartlands come with their own rustic flavour that gives crime dramas a strong massy connect. Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) was a revelation, but since then there hardly have been any success stories.
Veteran screenwriter Dilip Shukla, who has hits like Damini (1993), Dabangg (2010), Dabangg 2 (2012) to his credit, now throws up a messy crime drama, courtesy his Family of Thakurganj (2019). It’s co directed by rookie filmmaker Manoj K Jha and first-time director Prince Singh.
Having taken to crime at an early age Nannu [Jimmy Shergill] is now a feared hired gun of noted don and mentor Baba Bhandari [Saurabh Shukla]. Immoral it may be, but his family is supportive of Nannu’s criminal activities. The one man though who condemns Nannu’s acts is his righteous younger brother Munnu [Nandish Singh].
Are we bracing for a Deewar  like sibling confrontation? The big difference though is that unlike the Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor classic, the mom here Sumitra Devi [Supriya Pilgaonkar] doesn’t lament her tainted son. Just when you anticipate brothers squaring off against each other, the film takes an unexpected twist. Few words of wisdom see the bahubali Nannu give up his evil ways and set course for redemption. However, a tainted past cannot be wiped out easily and there is a price to pay.
It’s hard to digest that a man who took to crime at an early age, would suddenly give up all of it after listening to a little lecture on morality. Perhaps, the film would have been better served if it adopted the familiar but safe route of sibling rivalry. Nannu’s hriday parivartan [change of heart] shifts the dynamics of the film, leading to a very predictable and boring end. The unexpected surprise element too, fails to lift your mood.
Dilip Shukla’s poor writing leads to a painstaking screenplay. The inane dialogues, cringe worthy performance eventually turns Family of Thakurganj into an unintentional comedy.
Of all the cast, it is only Shergill and Saurabh Shukla who walk away with some respect. The rest are simply unbearable. The lone positive for Shergill and Mahie Gill is that for the first time, we’ve seen them in a healthy on-screen relationship. The duo has played the quarreling couple in the Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster franchise before. Fans would cheer seeing the duo as a happy couple, a happy family.
Saurabh Shukla showed the rapper in him in the Daas Dev rap song. Surprisingly, the Bihari don Baba Bhandari breaks into a rap into one of the songs here. Bhandari though is pure evil. He didn’t even spare his daughter who married against his will.
While Shergill and Shukla are fine, the rest of the cast is an eye sore. Just a week ago, Nandish Singh was seen playing younger brother to Hrithik Roshan in Super 30 , There it was Anand Kumar, but it’s Munnu [Nandish Singh] who runs a Jai Santoshi Maa coaching center in Thakurganj.
He’s blessed with fair complexion, but for some strange reason, Singh is made to look like a dolled-up starlet. Throughout the film, Singh has this clean shaven look. Perhaps, this role required him to sport it. Well, the poor chap must have run the blades daily. In fact, in of the scenes, it appears as though he’s bearing a shave wound.
What will hurt Singh is not the razor-sharp blade, but it’s his abysmal show. The little respect that he earned with Super 30, is wiped out in a disastrous show in Family of Thakurgang.. From dialogue delivery to body language, Singh is poor on all counts. The effeminate mannerism makes him a total misfit for Munnu’s role. Singh is so bad that it makes you wonder, did the directors go to sleep while filming? The poor dialogues only compound the agony for Singh. This is a film that the the Uttaran [TV show] actor would like to forget as a nightmare.
Barring Shukla and Shergill, the rest of the cast seemed to be matching Singh in melodrama. Remarkably, Singh does find his true match in first time actress Pranati Rai Prakash, who plays Munnu’s girlfriend Suman. They truly make for the terrible duo. Prakash is badly under cooked, and her show is nothing short of an embarrassment.
Veteran actress Supriya Pilgaonkar makes a mockery of herself too as Nannu and Munnu’s mother. Destiny can take one to dangerous, immoral paths, but Sumitra Devi seems to be taking great pride in Nannu’s criminal acts.
The more shocking is the conduct of Nannu and Sharbati’s [Mahi Gill] daughter Lalli. The little school girl uses her dreaded father’s name to seek favours. Isn’t the film setting a bad example for children?
Fine artistes like Mukesh Tiwary, Yashpal Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Pavan Malhotra are wasted in cliched roles.
The most amusing character though has to be that of Ballu Thapa. A dreaded hitman of Mongoloid features operating in Thakurganj, Bihar. At 58, forlorn actor Raj Zutshi is playing this whacko drunkard hippie hitman. For one who is not often in his senses, you wonder how can he strike at his targets with precision. It happens only in Family of Thakurganj. Many years ago, Subhash Ghai had a silly character Michael Thapa in Saudagar . Ballu though beats Michael Thapa on all ends when it’s comes to buffoonery. Bollywood still continues to stereotype such characters.
A poor story, screenplay spells doomsday for this film but perhaps the director duo of Jha and Prince Singh didn’t factor one thing. Not only such crime dramas are becoming stale, but the Litti Chowkha westerns are throwing up the familiar faces. Jimmy Shergill, Mahie Gill, Saurabh Shukla, Pavan Chawla are falling slave to small town crime dramas. There’s always an argument that such cinema is targeting the masses in the Hindi heartland. But the shrinking single screens is further reducing their market. Leave aside the audience, but the humble folks of Bihar, too, would disown this Family of Thakurganj.