Netflix's latest offering, Guns & Gulaabs, is set in Gulaabganj, a fictional town consisting of vast opium fields, gangsters, corrupt cops, teenage school kids and other citizens trapped in the chaos. The seven episode comic thriller series features Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Adarsh Gourav and Gulshan Devaiah in the lead roles.
Directed by Raj and DK, the show revolves around the execution of a massive opium deal in the small town during the '90s. When gangster chief Ganchi goes into a coma after slipping and falling through the woodwork of his old house, his inexperienced son Jugnu (Adarsh Gourav) is put in charge.
The main crop in Gulaabganj is opium which is considered somewhat legal and is supplied to the authorities for export; the rest being held illegally by Jugnu’s father. A modest mechanic named Tipu (Rajkummar Rao) on the other hand hopes to not follow his gangster father's footsteps and tries to overcome his influence, but later joins the club by killing two men out of rage and later joins the Ganchi gang. Aatmaram (Gulshan Devaiah ), a hired killer slashes his victims to horrid deaths.
In the middle of all this chaos arrives Arjun (Dulquer Salmaan), a narcotics officer who leads his life with a guilty conscience of not being the ideal father and husband, while falling prey to unnecessary character traits to fulfill his greed.
With every man wanting to be the hero of their own stories, there is also a slight change in the primary storyline following a shift to the lives of three school boys who are backbenchers invested in playing 'FLAMES' in their notebooks and running behind their little crushes. One of them named Gangaram fall for his teacher Chandralekha, who also happens to be the love of Tipu's life, and another boy Lalkrishna is in love with a rich newcomer girl Jyotsna who outshines him as class topper and is also Arjun's daughter.
But the chases and shootouts did not manage to keep the viewer hooked due to predictable nature of the storyline. Members of the cast also go about with their roles in isolation but never unite for what could have been an explosive moment. While trying to make the most of the old-town setup, the overuse of quirk and the struggle to initiate humour are visible. To an extent the characters seem not so well-written, especially in the case of Dulquer whose cop character seemed rather dull. The writers give him some edge, but too late into the show.
Rajkummar's character tried to bring humour on to the table especially in scenes involving his love interest. Gulshan’s character is the quirkiest and he makes sure to have fun with it.
The series also brings back the '90s nostalgia through evergreen Bollywood tracks and objects from the era, and every episode being named after an old song or an iconic film line.
Series: Guns & Gulaabs
Streaming on : Netflix