Family of Thakurganj has nothing new to say about the dynamics of gangster clans, police corruption and lawlessness in Uttar Pradesh, so it tries to delay the inevitable. The 127-minute crime drama initially unfolds as a series of vignettes about the brothers Nannu and Munnu and the rogues’ gallery that rules the Thakurganj town. The plot kicks in very late, and a bit too late to rescue the movie from utter predictability and sameness.
Two brothers choose different paths in Manoj K Jha’s film, which has been written by Dilip Shukla. Nannu becomes a criminal while still in his shorts to save his family from ruin. His brother Munnu chooses the straight and narrow path. Their mother (Supriya Pilgaonkar) approves of both boys, but leans more in favour of Nannu.
Nannu grows up to be a dapper gangster with the smoothest complexion and personal style this side of Uttar Pradesh. The character is played by Jimmy Shergill and directly channels his character from Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi aur Gangster films. Nannu’s wife, the delightfully named Sharbati, is even played by Mahie Gill, who performed a similar duty in Saheb Biwi aur Gangster.
Munnu, meanwhile, has emerged as the saintliest of younger siblings. Munnu runs a coaching centre and disapproves of his brother’s ways. Even Munnu’s romance seems dutiful, and in a movie that has no shortage of swaggering and slap-happy men, Munnu is as dull as a school textbook.
The cast is groaning with actors who usually show up in these heartland gangsters dramas. There’s Yashpal Sharma as a police inspector on the take, Mukesh Tiwari as Badri, a rival to Nannu, and Saurabh Shukla as the godfather who holds the reins. We were sure that we spotted Pankaj Tripathi somewhere in the crowd, but perhaps we were hallucinating.
Some of the vignettes in the unfocused screenplay work better than the others – every scene featuring the always-dependable Jimmy Shergill, Saurabh Shukla’s subtle menace. Manoj Pahwa has a nifty cameo as a house owner whose property has been grabbed by Nannu. The jaunty tone suggests a comedy, so when Nannu has a sudden change of heart and begins to look meaningfully into the sunset, it comes out of nowhere. Pavan Malhotra, another actor who can rarely do wrong, shows up as the police officer who will set things right, but it’s all downhill from there.