Gulaal reminded me of Barton Fink, in the manner in which the entire narrative seems to be happening on some surreal, yet completely believable plane, far removed from the world. Like how the protagonist moves into a ‘house’ that is actually a pub with neon lights, occupied by a Rajput who dresses like a cowboy! Gulaal could have been just another political/underworld type thriller, but the detailing of characters ensures that you constantly feel like you are witnessing an epic that will leave its mark for a long time to come. And what an extraordinary music score by Piyush Mishra, that elevates the entire proceedings to produce art of a standard not seen for a long while in Bollywood.
Gulaal has some similarities with Omkara and Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi. The former, in the manner in which the entire story is staged, and the latter in the manner in which in both films, the high ideals of the protagonists are juxtaposed with the absurdity of the final outcome of their ideals (in one film, the idealist simply abandons his ideals arbitrarily, and in the other he meets an absurd death).