CAST: Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Gulshan Devaiah and Adarsh Gourav.


“Guns & Gulaabs,” masterminded by Raj and DK, is a brilliantly eccentric crime narrative that nostalgically revisits the 1990s. It delves into the sinister allure of individuals, including a few women, who revel in chaos, cruelty, and carnage. This captivating Netflix series unfolds in a warped world inhabited by opium traders, armed mobsters, a lethal assassin with a knack for survival, a tormented anti-drug agent haunted by his history, and two reserved men grappling with profound paternal conflicts.

Guns and Gulaabs Review: Adarsh Gourav dazzles in Raj-DK saga of hurt and  heart - India Today

The “gulaabs” mentioned in the title, representing the town where the plot unravels, are overshadowed in this unprincipled realm. Here, both grown-ups and young boys relish overstepping boundaries. Interestingly, a ‘boundary line’ exists within a local eatery, distinctly dividing it for two feuding factions.

In the hillside town of Gulaabgunj, surrounded by opium fields, the few innocent residents are caught between two rival gangs. One of these factions hails from Sherpur, located 30 km away. They vie for dominance over an illicit opium trade, operating beyond the sanctioned poppy cultivation by the government.

Raj & DK's 'Guns & Gulaabs' – Netflix drops trailer for India's most  anticipated series – Asianconnect

“Guns & Gulaabs” sets the stage with visuals of a poppy field, a conversation between two schoolboys about their crushes, and a pursuit culminating in a daytime murder. Thus, the series’ central themes – opium, romance, and aggression – are introduced right from the start.

As the narrative progresses, other subplots emerge, like the competition between students for the top rank. The story crescendos to a thrilling climax in episodes 7 and 8, which span over an hour with an interlude.

Every character in Gulaabgunj and Sherpur harbors hidden agendas and self-centered schemes. These plans are ever-evolving as the corrupt individuals either pursue or evade their counterparts. The setting blends small-town mystery with 90s nostalgia, accompanied by a soundtrack featuring classic Hindi songs.

The series begins with the assassination of Babu Tiger, the right-hand man of Gulaabgunj’s mob boss Ganchi (Satish Kaushik) and the distant father of mechanic Tipu (Rajkummar Rao). While Ganchi plots revenge for his loss, Tipu feels a sense of liberation from his father’s shadow.

Jugnu (Adarsh Gourav), Ganchi’s sole heir, grapples with the weight of inheriting his father’s legacy. Meanwhile, narcotics officer Arjun Varma (Dulquer Salmaan), previously involved in a major scam investigation in Delhi, is assigned to restore order in Gulaabgunj.

Atmaram (Gulshan Devaiah), a contract killer for the Sherpur gang led by Nabeed (Nilesh Divekar), Ganchi’s ex-ally, roams the streets with a signature weapon. As long as he’s on the loose, no one in Ganchi’s circle is safe.

Arjun’s arrival coincides with a pivotal deal Ganchi strikes with Sukanto (Rajatava Dutta), representing a Kolkata drug cartel. This agreement sets the stage for the series’ core conflict. Farmers, gangsters, and buyers work relentlessly to ensure Gulaabgunj produces the required refined opium quantity for the Calcutta drug syndicate. Arjun and his team mobilize to thwart the supply.

Guns & Gulaabs" All You Want To Know Is Here.

As alliances form and unravel, Arjun’s relationship with his wife Madhu (Pooja A. Gor) teeters on the edge due to the return of a past acquaintance, Yamini (Shreya Dhanwanthary). Amidst uneasy circumstances, matters of the heart take center stage. Tipu’s attempt to express his affection for schoolteacher Lekha (TJ Bhanu ‘Parvati Murty’) backfires spectacularly.

Although opium might not be the drug of choice in Gulaabgunj, the freely flowing whiskey in Ganchi’s lair turns treacherous at one point, sparking a crisis that involuntarily drags Jugnu, aka Chhota Ganchi, into the unfolding chaos. Similarly, Tipu, despite his reluctance, finds himself inheriting his father’s dubious legacy, even unintentionally causing two deaths with his wrench. Thus, he earns the moniker “Paana Tipu.”

If Tipu’s memories of his father aren’t filled with warmth, it’s not solely due to the fact that the feared gangster abandoned his mother for another woman. In one scene, he muses, “Baap ajeeb qism ka jantu hota hai” – fathers are peculiar creatures. For Jugnu, the struggle with his legacy isn’t merely rooted in resentment towards his father or in breaking free from his imposing shadow. It’s about attaining his father’s approval. He confides, “I want to make dad proud.”

Intertwined with the fabric of Guns & Gulaabs’ narrative and visual tapestry is an enduring homage to the early 1990s, particularly the Hindi cinema and music that defined that era. Both the storyline and the soundtrack are rich with echoes, melodies, and allusions from that time. The series is a treasure trove for aficionados of pop culture.

The character names hark back to a period preceding the cinematic debuts of Rahul and Raj – names like Gangaram, Lalkishan, Chandralekha, Mahendra, and Atmaram. The chapter titles themselves draw inspiration from songs and films of the 1980s and 1990s – embracing names like “Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki,” “Do Dil Mil Rahe Hain,” and “Raat Baaki.” Even a chapter title playfully references a Bryan Adams track.

Moreover, the series features a romantic melody (crafted by Aman Pant, who expertly curates a charmingly vintage backdrop score) sung by Kumar Sanu. As an added detail, the series artistically incorporates the acknowledgment of Satish Kaushik’s contribution onto a calendar.

Let’s not overlook the reference to the iconic kung-fu movie, “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin,” which captures Tipu’s attention as he watches it alongside his closest companion Suneel (Goutam Sharma, who also skillfully portrays one of Suneel’s twin siblings, with his real-life twin Gourav Sharma portraying the other).

Guns & Gulaabs boasts an ensemble of splendid performances led by Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Gulshan Devaiah, and Adarsh Gourav. The broader cast of actors is equally impactful, with TJ Bhanu’s portrayal shining most prominently in a series that delves into gender themes and unexpected explorations of masculinity. Pooja A. Gor and Shreya Dhanwanthary, though given lesser screen time, leave their mark as well. Vipin Sharma’s portrayal of Ganchi’s trusted aide Mahendra is robust.

Guns & Gulaabs, consistently engaging from start to finish, seamlessly melds stylish flair with audacious storytelling prowess.



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