Ghanchakkar

ghanchakkar_poster
Ghanchakkar
Release date: June 28, 2013
Directed by: Raj Kumar Gupta
Cast: Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Rajesh Sharma, Namit Das, Parveen Dabbas

Raj Kumar Gupta’s take at comedy, i.e. Ghanchakkar is a murky tale of  a bunch of equally eccentric characters placed in an odd setting together.

Sanju (Emraan Hashmi) is a whiz safe-cracker who is stealth even in his personal life. His wife is the massively fashion-obsessed, heavily Punjabi Neetu (Vidya Balan) always experimenting with her cooking and wigs alike. A sudden call from Pandit (Rajesh Sharma) shakes Sanju’s daily activities out of a self-imposed ban on doing any more robberies.

Idris (Namit Das) is Pandit’s shady accomplice. Armed with a gun, he likes to bully people while the two hold ‘business meetings’ in Mumbai’s local trains during the night. Their introduction is creepy and unfunny. The lines aim for some comic peaks, eventually falling into the valleys. The motive seems unclear here, or perhaps I was fooled.

After their robbery plans go right, there’s a glitch: Sanju has stashed the mega-millions somewhere and due to an accident is suffering from a partial memory loss problem. This memory loss leads to the actual major conflict of the film, ranging from him forgetting his former accomplices to suspecting his closest ones of fleeing away with the money. The said patch leads to interesting situations and laughter fits in bits and pieces.

Vidya Balan carries off her part with expected integrity and power, even Hashmi has the befuddled look throughout perfectly. Rajesh Sharma and Namit Das carefully evolve from the ghoulish beings to parallely stuck pawns in a larger game. The cast may be limited but never falls short of delivering. Setu’s cinematography of a space-crunched Mumbai is shockingly expansive and preys on dark themes. Shockingly, Amit Trivedi’s soundtrack compositions are limited and his dubstep background score is covered more.

The film’s inherent spirit keeps fluctuating from amusing to plain flat, and plain flat to whimsical. You expect it to carry on the same track but it doesn’t. There’s simply not much physical searching for the money, and there’s more of let-me-recall-what-happened-three-months-back-by-sitting-on-my-hands. It makes you want the film to end early, and with the predictable approach that the makers choose to unveil the big bombshells you are outright unimpressed and disappointed.

Blood and gore are used in moderation, and with the silenced cuss words, it appears as if the producers wanted to play safe. Ironically the self-censoring isn’t detrimental to the plot’s success. I will be lying if I don’t admit breaking into an anxiety attack induced by laughing at the phone-sex sequence, but that’s one of the three main highlights along with the individual performances and the cinematography. The writing tries very hard to transcend through the next level, only to stay in mediocrity.

Ghanchakkar aims for greener avenues and ends up straying into dry lands. The flaws aren’t as grave, yet they end up one-upping the innate wit and smartly placed pop references.

My rating: **1/2 (2 and a half out of 5)

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