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Netflix’s Guns & Gulaabs is a dark comedy steeped in the pop culture of the 1990s

A still from Guns & Gulaabs

A still from Guns & Gulaabs

Suhani Singh

Mumbai,ISSUE DATE: Sep 4, 2023 | UPDATED: Aug 25, 2023 16:35 IST

Raj & DK’s first original series for Netflix, Guns & Gulaabs (G&G), arrives at a time when the writer-director duo has established themselves as one of the most sought-after voices in long-format storytelling. With this commercial potboiler of a show, they remind us how nobody does quirky, dark comedy better. In G&G, Raj & DK along with co-writer Suman Kumar create a delightful world full of the tropes of 1980s-90s cinema. There’s a sweet, naive hero, Tipu (Rajkummar Rao), who has his heart set on a woman out of his league and becomes an accidental gangster; there’s a dashing police officer, Arjun Verma (Dulquer Salmaan), who comes to town to clean up the mess only to find himself embroiled in one of his own making; there’s a menacing villain, Aatmaram (Gulshan Devaiah), with his own legend; and there’s a son (Adarsh Gourav) struggling to appease his father and be taken seriously as an heir to the criminal enterprise. Amidst the drug trade and gang rivalries, the fictional town of Gulaabganj comes alive with a love story. There’s a sense of familiarity to the fictional landscape of Gulaabganj, but Raj & DK put their own spin to it. Says Raj Nidimoru, “It’s our way of looking at that era, but we are not doing a homage.” Capturing the ‘simplicity’ of the time was important. “In the movies then, heroes were always good and villains bad,” says Krishna DK. “In G&G, the protagonists are unwilling to do a bad thing but are pulled into it.”

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