Created by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K., Netflix’s ‘Guns and Gulaabs’ is a crime drama set in the fictional town of Gulaabganj. The story begins with a brutal murder, where the leader of one cartel hires an assassin to kill a critical member of the competing cartel. They are at war over getting a stronghold on the illegal opium business in the region. The stakes are raised when the deal of a lifetime is brought their way, and things get worse when the leader of one of the cartels becomes incapacitated due to an accident.
The story unfolds from the perspective of four main characters: the son of the leader of a cartel, the son of the man who was murdered, a police officer who is trying to do right by his job, and an assassin who seems to be immortal. The show blends the stories, which get darker with every minute, into humor and delivers an entertaining story that keeps the audience hooked. Due to the realistic nature of events, you might wonder if the show is based on a true story. Here’s what you need to know about.
Is Guns and Gulaabs a True Story?
No, ‘Guns and Gulaabs’ is a fictional show created by Raj and D.K., known for shows like ‘The Family Man’ and ‘Farzi.’ The duo is known for delving into complicated, character-driven stories with their distinct brand of humor that elevates the material, making it more realistic for the audience. When they started working on ‘Guns and Gulaabs’ (the title being an ode to the American hard rock band, ‘Guns N’ Roses’), they decided to set the show in the ‘90s because they wanted to explore the setting in a world without phones and other devices.
“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 favorite characters and seeing how they behave,” Raj said. The creators emphasized the importance of the lack of technology and how several things in the show wouldn’t have worked if people had smartphones and other modern stuff.
Another reason behind setting the story in the ‘90s was their personal connection to it. This was the decade they went from school to college, where they met and started their creative collaboration. Growing up in small towns and seeing the world shift, but not quite so in the more rural parts of India, interested them in the prospect of storytelling.
“It was a time before the foreign cars and western brands and online trolling. There was only a single theatre in town, I.S. Mahal, that played the big foreign movies — First Blood, Die Hard, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin [referenced in Guns & Gulaabs]. The rest we watched on bootlegged VCRs,” D.K. said. “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,’” Raj added.
When the actors were brought on board, some of whom had already worked with Raj and D.K. in previous projects, they brought their own touch to the characters. Arguably, the most memorable character in the show is Gulshan Devaiah’s 4-cut Atmaram. When it came to the looks of the character, the actor was inspired by actors Mithun Chakraborty and Sanjay Dutt, whose movies he’d watched as a teenager in the 90s. His character’s long hair was stylized like Dutt’s mullet hair in films like ‘Saajan’ and ‘Khal Nayak,’ while Chakraborty’s dressing sense inspired the wardrobe of Atmaram.
Adding that there are several other 90s references in the show, Devaiah said: “I might have improvised a few things in the show, but they were not planned… Many of the other references came from Mithun Chakraborty’s photos for clothing styles. Some of my other references came from old Bollywood films. There is a particular knife that I use in the show, it is sort of homage to the ’50s and ‘60s,” he said. Considering all this, it’s clear that ‘Guns and Gulaabs’ is a fictional tale created as an homage to the 90s movies and to invoke nostalgia in the audience.
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