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Times of India
The otherwise calm, next-door boy Suryakant is drawn into the world of crime following an altercation with an underworld don's henchmen.
The underworld has always fascinated Hindi filmmakers and films like 'Satya', 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbai', 'Shootout at Lokhandwala' and 'Company' are just a few examples of Bollywood's fascination for gangster films. For the Marathi film industry though, 'Daagdi Chaawl' is perhaps the first time that a film revolving around a gangster has been made.
'Daagdi Chaawl' is a fictitious story loosely based around gangster-turned politician Arun Gawli's activities. At its centre is the protagonist Surya (Ankush) who unwillingly gets involved in the don Daddy's (Deshpande) dirty businesses. Daddy, who operates from his fortified residence Dagdi Chawl, is feared by everyone in the Byculla vicinity. A political aspirant, Daddy is involved in extortion, murder and other criminal activities but never gets caught due to lack of evidence against him. Surya, a mechanic from another chawl, gets into an altercation with some of Chandu Mama's (Khapre playing Daddy's right-hand man) henchmen and his simple life gets complicated.
What could've been a gritty drama, has unnecessary splashes of a romance. Yes, the romance is necessary to establish the reason behind Surya's transformation but it has been stretched till a point where exasperated sighs are all that you hear from the audience. The graph of the film starts ascending, slumps almost immediately and reaches its peak during the final 10-15 minutes. The film has all the ingredients needed for a gritty crime drama but the makers falter in the execution.
Through a very contained performance, Deshpande, who is otherwise known for his eccentric roles, brings out the nuances of Daddy's character beautifully. If there's one person who can match Daddy in physical appearance as well as the body language, it's Deshpande. Riding high on the appreciation for his role in Double Seat, Ankush returns to action - a genre he is most loved for. Little wonder then that he performs effortlessly throughout. Pooja Sawant adds the glam factor while Sanjay Khapre and Yatin Karyekar do what is required of them.
For the average viewer who just wants to sit back and enjoy a film on the weekend, 'Daagdi Chaawl' is a good pick. But whether it will hold fort against 'Talvar', 'Singh Is Bling' and 'Puli', is a debatable notion.
Our overall critics rating is not an average of the sub score below.