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Yellow Gangs

average rating is 3 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Jun 29, 2023

Film Reviews
Yellow Gangs
Directed by:
Ravindra Parameshwarappa
Written by:
Ravindra Parameshwarappa
Archana Kottige, Dev Devaiah, Arun Kumar, Sriharsha H.S., Sathya B.G.

Stop me if you've heard this one before:


We're in the back seat of a moving car. Looking down we can see the body of an injured victim sprawled across the length of the seats. He's bleeding – profusely. The driver in the front is trying to get to safety, every so often turning to check on the invalid in the back, shouting his name, getting more and more worried with each passing second. What the hell has just happened? How did these characters get themselves into this diabolical situation? Are they going to make it? Is the person in the back still alive? Are they in fact a mole, a police operative working undercover in the shadows of a gangster underworld, who's managed to get caught up in the crossfire of a criminal enterprise gone wrong?


Sounds kinda familiar, huh?


And yes, writer/director Ravindra Parameshwarappa's intro to his new feature film, Yellow Gangs does smack an awful lot of Reservoir Dogs (1992) and goes on to reference/borrow a lot from Tarantino's first outing, as well as bits and pieces from his other major successes, but it's the other favourite Godfather of gangster movies that gets the most nods as a lot of the characterisation, story and style of the film ape faithfully the Cockney gangster vibe of Guy Ritchie.


After the opening scene and slick title sequence then comes the usual rounds of introducing all the main characters, each with their own glib dialogue, a funky, fun theme on the soundtrack, and if they're really special, their very own title card splashed all over the screen in the RocknRolla (2008) style.


So we've got Vikram (Devaiah), a cop and the guy in the back seat from the opening scene, who likes to play both sides and is involved with his on-again/off-again girlfriend Priya (Kottige), who was the one driving him to safety after he'd been shot. There's Ushna (Kumar), leader of a gang of hardened criminals who like to do drug deals and take receipt of giant bags full of cash. Then there's Tent Naga (Sathya B G), leader of a rival group of gangsters who wants to get in to rob a jewellery store and generally live the Thug Life. And, of course, we can't forget The Accountant (Sriharsha H.S.), the seemingly naïve stooge who's used as a safehouse for the cash while the heat is on and who also, by sheer coincidence, does the accounts for a certain jewellery store. There are plenty of other characters involved, too, with another gang on the scene, underlings with names like Spark and Double-Decker, and something to do with a grumpy old man and his classic Mercedes-Benz.


So, the set-up is pretty standard for the usual crime caper. All of our characters get brought together and mixed up in each others' mess, then all the threads have to be unravelled to get us back to the start where we came in to the story. Everything in Yellow Gangs is slick and well presented, with the scenes running quickly and easily into one another and Parameshwarappa doing a good job behind the camera offering us plenty of different angles and viewpoints in each new scenario. All of the effects fit well into the story with some being impressive for the budget level of the film and the technical aspects all come together to keep the production of a high standard. As usual, all dialogue and sound effects are added in post-production and as such fail to sync up on occasion, but this can be overlooked as an idiosyncrasy of the process.


At two and a quarter hours long there's a lot of jumping around and filler in Yellow Gangs which serves to slow the pace of the story down, especially in the middle act. It can be difficult to follow all the different characters and just who is who in relation to each other, especially if you're not too familiar with Indian names, and there's an awful lot of attempts at humour which just don't translate very well. There are definitely two barrels worth of Lock, Stock... (1998) in here as well as a smattering of Snatch (2000) but there's also definite allusions to Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and the Ocean's films (2001-2007) as well as many other heist movies which suggest that Parameshwarappa may have been lifting his favourite scenes and using them to his own ends. The use of some very Harold Faltermeyer synth in a mansion break-in seems to confirm this.


For what is a very Western genre translated into an Indian setting, Yellow Gangs is an enjoyable romp. It won't win any prizes for originality, or scripting, but the actors give their all and the story isn't half bad. If you're into Indian cinema then it might be worth a look, but if not then it's probably not worth the time investment for something that you've most likely seen before, and better.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Indie Feature Film, World Cinema
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