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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



Naughty Gang, Review: Gang apes

Naughty Gang, Review: Gang apes

We keep hearing at every seminar or conference that with the advances in technology, anybody, just anybody, can make a film. In various Indian film schools too, film-making has been so vehemently de-mystified that every year some 10,000 students pass out and are ready to shoot from the hip, the hip being where they keep their mobile phones. It is a no contest. If a 22-23 year-old fresher can make films, why can’t those who have been around on the fringes, for a decade or two, make a film—a feature film? Anybody and everybody can make a film.

Information given below is partly culled from the publicity folder provided by the film’s hard-working Public Relations Officer, Wasim Siddique, who organised a press show for a few journalists at a (for me) new venue, called Red Bulb, in the Oshiwara area, off Link Road, Information available from other sources on the Internet has been incorporated as well.

Anybody and everybody can make a film.

The auditorium is well designed, but there is no space for movement from the left end of the seats, since speakers have been installed at very low heights. Anybody attempting to find his way to a seat in a front row, to avoid the deafening decibels, could get knocked out, as I almost did, but survived with a bruise and swelling on my forehead. To chat and consume snacks and beverages, there is a terrace just outside, where we indeed chatted and consumed some tolerable snacks and excellent tea.

Anybody and everybody can make a film.

Story, screenplay, dialogue writer and director of Naughty Gang, Pankaj Kumar ‘Virat’, is a member of the Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association and in the field of writing and directing since 2001. In a video interview, he has said:

*The film is neat and clean.

*It has no stars because he needed seven parallel characters, with equal roles, and it would be impossible to work with an ensemble cast of stars, as it would both cost a lot and take a long time to shoot.

*Comedy has been achieved by the timing of the stars while shooting the scenes, and not by over-acting.

*The script underwent five-six drafts.

*I do not like vulgarity.

*The actors are all professionals who have been working in films and TV, though they may not be stars.

\\Swallow all these claims with a barrelful of salt.

Anybody and everybody can make a film.

‘Virat’ hails from Sonipat in Haryana. That explains his creating the character played by Kaif Khan, who speaks typical Haryanvi. Pankaj has directed TV serials like Non-Stop Gaddi and Karuna Ke Saagar, music videos and ad films. He is about to launch his second feature film, called Ramdev, which will have a social message. It is not known whether it will have anything to do with the sadhu Baba Ramdev, known for his yoga and manufacturing and marketing a range of consumer products. Actually, after seeing Naughty Boy, you can guess what to expect. Anybody and everybody can make a film.

Viren Bika (theatre actor from Jaipur, Rajasthan; discovered by Virat) is cast as Ballu, the gang-leader

Rashmi Mishra (Majaz—Ae Gham-e-dil Kya Karoon; Little Boy) in a double-role as Vidya and Maya

Kaif Khan (passable) and Ramanjeet Singh (painful) as the gang-members, Raja and Harry

Monika Ravan (ISIS: Enemies of Humanity, Viraam) as a therapist

Sonia Bansal as another therapist.

\\Mind your gaze when you look at the three vibrant therapeutic titillators. Do not leverage on cleaverage. There’s a penalty for sexual desire surfacing, even in your mind.

Anybody and everybody can make a film.


Mukesh Tiwari (no newcomer this) as a decadent Don. \\Silly role, hammed to glory.

Vividha Kirti as a make-believe ghost and the Don’s beloved, Leela

Adi Irani (been around for ages) as Rashmi’s father, Bhanu Pratap. \\Stupid role, creditable job.

Firdaus Mewawala (often seen as a model and in ad films, Parsee, who speaks fluent Urdu) as an old man who books a rejuvenating package at the therapy centre. \\He is not bad, and my first impression of him is positive.

Ranjeet (hateful head honcho in many Hindi films, associated with rape scenes and in gang rapes) in a Special Appearance as a drunk old man whose house is burgled. \\What a terribly special appearance.

Also in the cast are Padmender Rawat, Vijay Patkar, Mehnaz Shroff, Rajkumar Kannojia, Gauransh Chauhan, Nandini and Muqaddas Khan (no info available on these gentlemen and the two ladies)

\\Anybody and everybody can act. This gang revels in overacting and aping.

Anybody and everybody can make a film.

Music is Paresh A. Shah, lyrics by Kumar, Rashmi Virag, Virat. Director of Photography is Rajeev Shrivastava. Editors are Rajeev Shrivastava and Mayuresh Sawant. Choreographers are Dev Kumar Thape and Virat. Art Director is Deepak Chakraworty. \\Not everybody can write, compose and sing well. These guys did. Some outdoor shots are pleasing. But that’s about all.

Anybody and everybody can make a film.

Naughty Gang has a handful of scenes where the characters get the urge to urinate and they do, sometimes on other characters who are awake, sometimes on sleeping entities and sometimes on unsconscious unsuspecting individuals. If these scenes prompt yoy to take a wash-room break, don't feel bad. It's only natural. But if such scenes put you off and you even find them offensive, don't say I did not warn you.

Anybody and everybody can make a film.

If this gang of apes can do it, everybody can. Us, you, he, she, they…all…and I will naturally count myself out, for if I start making films, how will I be able to review them for posteriority?

I shall leave you now and tune into some real stuff, and it is called…you guessed it, Gangsta Rap!

Rating: *


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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