Guns & Gulaabs, the new retro-style crime drama from Raj & DK, is dropping today on Netflix. Serving as an ode to Bollywood in the mid-90s, the black comedy series blends romance and pulp comedy into a fine paste, where a wrench turning into an instrument of death sets off a chain reaction of wild events in the unpredictable town of Gulaabganj. Marking the duo’s first Netflix project, it’s worth mentioning that Guns & Gulaab’s spent an egregiously long time in production — having dropped a teaser in September, only to go radio silent until earlier this month. It can be assumed that the creators were busy with Amazon Prime Video’s Farzi, but this show wasn’t mentioned in Netflix’s release 2023 release slate either, casting doubt among fans.
“This time we went back to our favourite territory… embracing the storytelling style of our earlier films (99, Shor In The City). And somewhere along this process, we found ourselves creating a genre mash in a pulpy, retro style,” Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK said in a prepared statement. The pair describe Guns & Gulaabs as a ‘quirky story,’ one that’s filled to the brim with nostalgic music and references, conveyed through its ensemble cast of misfits who try to make a name in a cartel-run town rampant with gang riots. First up, we’ve got Rajkummar Rao (Monica, O My Darling) as Paana Tipu, a lovesick mechanic, who gets roped into a life of crime when he lets his inner demon out — killing intruders by stabbing a wrench down their throats.
The show reunites Rao with his The White Tiger co-star Adarsh Gourav, who plays Chhota Ganchi, the reluctant heir to a drug empire, hell-bent on making his father proud. And since no crime drama is complete without a cop, we’ve got Dulquer Salmaan (Sita Ramam) stepping into the boots of Officer Arjun Varma. Bored by his mundane lifestyle, the honest cop turns to a life of chaos, looking to make a quick buck or even better — earn a promotion. The easiest way to achieve that is by toppling the drug kingpin, and so he teams up with Chhota Ganchi to make a five percent bonus from an unorganised heist the latter has planned. Amidst all this, an overly goofy gangster named ‘4 Cut Aatmaram’ (Gulshan Devaiah) is running loose in the town, known for killing — or rather, cleansing — souls, with merely four stabs of a switchblade.
Mimicking motorcycle chase sequences from old Bollywood and over-exaggerated action, Guns & Gulaabs also unfolds a revenge story, heartbreak, and a taste of sweet innocence through the eyes of three schoolmates. The series also stars the late Satish Kaushik (Mr. India) as the drug lord father Ganchi, frequent Raj & DK collaborator Ashmith Kunder (The Family Man), and Pooja Gor (The Verdict – State vs Nanavati).
Guns & Gulaabs is out today on Netflix.