Exclusive: Raj & DK on why Guns & Gulaabs is more about the quirks than the gang wars

After giving us hit shows like The Family Man and Farzi, filmmaker duo Raj & DK foray into the streaming space with Guns & Gulaabs. The show starring Rajkummar Rao, Dulquer Salmaan, Adarsh Gourav and Gulshan Devaiah is a ’90s-set gangster comedy. It follows a law enforcement officer, a mechanic from a mafia family, a cartel heir and an assassin in the chaotic small town of Gulaabgunj. In an exclusive interview with Filmfare, directors Raj & DK opened up about the show’s delightful cast, what went down behind the scenes and more.

Talking about the show’s period setting, Raj narrates, “More than specific movies that influenced us to go back and do this, it was the charm of creating a story that deals with simplicity, innocence and a hopeful world where there were no phones. A whole romantic world opened up after taking out phones. Everything changed. So it was really more about taking out the convenience and then adding in our favourite characters and seeing how they behave. We had the freedom to make it larger than life and cinematic as compared to say The Family Man which was very gritty and realistic. It’s that vs the CinemaScope of watching the good old days.”

Raj & DK Guns & Gulaabs

DK adds, “You can sense the innocence of most of the characters in the show. Inherently the ’90s was a simpler time. It felt that it was the era the story should be in. The start of it was the story and everything else went from there as opposed to us thinking, “let’s make a retro film.”

Getting the right actors was key for Guns & Gulaabs. Talking about casting Rajkummar Rao and Dulquer Salmaan, Raj explains, “This show is more about the character details, quirks and nuances rather than the overall plot. The gang wars only form the backdrop. So we needed the right actors to come and do this. Rajkummar Rao has a big range. Here he plays a lover boy who turns into a dreaded gangster but hilariously he’s not owing it. It’s so fun that he could play with those layers. For Dulquer’s character we needed that swag. We needed a guy who would come from outside to this small town and start to own it. He might look like a simple guy, a romantic guy with a wife and kids who listens to music. But there’s something more to him.”

Raj & DK Guns & Gulaabs

Opening up about Adarsh Gourav and Gulshan Devaiah, he adds, “Adarsh had to play this complicated character who is pretty inconsequential in the opening. He is under the shadow of his father and then he starts coming out on his own. He only worked on the quirks because there was only so much he could do. The scene where his assistant feeds him a samosa by hand was his idea. Gulshan, of course, brings something very edgy. Even though you know you’re styling him as Khalnayak, you still need to like him.” DK further breaks down Devaiah’s villain role saying, “Atmanram is this imposing villain and looking at his personality you’d think he would have a thundering laugh but the idea here was different. I remember telling him not to laugh. The script reads, ‘Atmanram giggles.’ His laugh is a funny giggly laugh. It’s quite out of place because a guy who is so dangerous has this silly trait.”

Guns & Gulaabs will be released on August 18, 2023, on OTT 


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