Monday, July 1, 2013

Adapting an email forward on screen

Film: Ghanchakkar 

Director: Raj Kumar Gupta

Spoiler Alert: the man taking you for a ride in Raj Kumar Gupta's Ghanchakkar is Raj Kumar Gupta himself (along with co-screenwriter Parvez Sheikh). Whether the 140 minute film is a comedy, drama or a thriller itself is a puzzle that takes time to figure. And while some of it is entertaining, the film is a crazy start-stop roller-coaster ride.

Divulging any more details than the ones available in the film's promotion would spoil the experience of watching it. Ghanchakkar is about Sanju (Emraan), who helps two schemers Pandit and Idris in robbing a bank. However, in the cool-off period, he meets with an accident and loses his memory, which causes him to forget where the money is hidden. The collaborators then enter Sanju's house and stay with him and his fashionable Punjabi wife Neetu (Vidya), hoping to recover their spoils. The film then comically sets up a web of deceit where you just can't tell who is telling you the truth.

At large, the film may seem like a comedy thriller, but it runs deeper. Beneath its layers of clever one-liners and hilarious sequences, the film underlines the melancholy of a man without his memory, his inability to trust anyone and his losing grip over his own identity. However, in the process of doing all of this, the makers (quite ironically) seem to have forgotten what they really wanted the film to be.

Some scenes are stretched beyond their communicable value and some others the film could have done without. A film shows a triad looting a bank wearing Dharmendra, Bachchan and Utpal Dutt masks later shoots its own foot by not living up to its own standards. As the humour in the dialogues begins to wither, the only thing that keeps you interested in the film is Vidya Balan. Her portrayal of a fashion-savvy, aggressive Punjaban is so convincing that if Ghanchakkar is the only film one has seen her in, it would be almost impossible to prove her South Indian origin.

Namit Das and Rajesh Sharma, who play Idris and Pandit respectively, fit into their characters like tailormade suits and seem effortless. Emraan Hashmi's Sanju is quite two dimensional and is made likeable by the lines he mouths.

A decent one-time watch after a heady week, Ghanchakkar is just the right amount of amusement that is expected from a normal movie. A treat for fans of Vidya Balan, who is a band apart from her contemporaries just for agreeing to this role. For the rest of us, not a waste of time to say the least. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Published in DNA (Pune) on June 29, 2013 

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