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Yellow Gangs review: An intriguing crime drama elevated by conviction and finesse

Debutant Ravindra Parameshwarappa is ably supported by his technical crew in this multi-narrative thriller.

3.5/5rating
Yellow Gangs review: An intriguing crime drama elevated by conviction and finesse
Yellow Gangs
  • Swaroop Kodur

Last Updated: 02.03 PM, Nov 12, 2022

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Story:

A major drug deal gone wrong triggers a set of chaotic events involving cops, crime lords, petty thieves, and the whole gamut. With as many as Rs. 7 crores of drug money up for grabs and a vintage car too thrown into the mix, each party makes a manic attempt to own its stake - the simmering tension then unfurls on one momentous afternoon to wreak maximum havoc. Who will emerge as the ultimate winner amid all the danger and bloodshed?

Review:

Bengaluru, as a cinematic milieu, has not been explored thoroughly by filmmakers but a change seems to be on the horizon. What could now be termed as "new age" Kannada cinema has thrown up a bunch of titles in the past few years with films like Duniya, Lucia, and others unravelling the low-level crimes of the city. Earlier this year, one saw Chandra Keerthi’s Tootu Madike prove to be a successful attempt in this genre and as a valid entrant to this list, Ravindra Parameshwarappa brings his Yellow Gangs to our attention.

As self-explanatory as titles go, Yellow Gangs is about gangs of a certain deadly kind. Scruffy, hardboiled men who mean serious business and carry an appropriate amount of motivation to remain that way. And yet, unlike most gangster or crime drams, Yellow Gangs is NOT particularly smitten by its own ruggedness and charmingly maintains a sense of detachment throughout. Despite the high stakes and the convolutions in the narrative, the director ensures that the events of his film take place in a real, highly believable world. And this alone sets the film apart from many others of its kind.

Now take the plot alone and see how incredible it seems on paper. Gopal alias Ushna and Gang has tucked away a whopping money score which actually belongs to Cable Krishnappa, a lethal crime lord. Krishnappa also seeks a vintage green left-hand drive but the owner of the car says he has already sold it to another buyer. He then appoints two petty thieves to steal the car but the new owner of this swanky vehicle also has access to the money. Sh*t then hits the roof when Nagaraja alias Tent Naga’s gang goes after the same money as part of its glorious heist. Outside this perimeter lay police inspector Vikram and his vivacious girlfriend Priya who, without much intervention or effort, land up smack in the middle of the vast scheme.

By all means, this storyline could be rendered as a most authentic, almost-Priyadarshan-like crime comedy (nothing wrong with that either) but Ravindra Parameshwarappa is unflinching in wanting to make this a riveting crime thriller. His Yellow Gangs is devoid of tacky frills and has all the necessary conviction and finesse to remain a slow-burn right from the start.

That said , Yellow Gangs falters slightly in the second half and the issues stem mainly because of the writing. The narrative, in essence, gets divided into two distinct parts and the first one is spent mainly in setting up the long and complicated premise. Once we get acclimated to the world and understand the underlying desires of each character, the film is meant to deliver a fitting climax for the patience and also raise the stakes along the way. Yellow Gangs, however, comes off a little dull and incessant in this regard because the film’s emotional core lacks the required depth - barring a few select characters like Inspector Vikky, Priya, and the two petty fiends Prabhu and Seena, one does not really end up rooting for any of the characters. Thereby, the climax shootout sequence, as gritty and absorbing as it is visually, ends up being a tad underwhelming because of the payoff in the end isn’t satiating enough.

Verdict:

Ravindra Parameshwarappa’s Yellow Gangs is a well conceived and executed crime thriller that is also not excessively ambitious. Be it the performances of the solid ensemble cast or the superb technical finesse - cinematographer Sugnan, music composer Rohit Sower, and editor Suresh Arumugam have done a splendid job - the film boasts of many merits and proves that Kannada Cinema has talent in abundance to offer. Barring a few glitches in the narrative, Yellow Gangs makes for an engaging watch that warrants a visit to the cinema halls. If you are in the mood to venture out to the movies this weekend, Yellow Gangs is your best bet from the lot.

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