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Ghanchakkar Movie Review: No Country For Ghanchakkar

Got Ghanchakkar-ed. With Pleasure.

Got Ghanchakkar-ed. With Pleasure.

For once I believed people can’t understand. No, people really can’t as I saw yesterday, the death of a fine film. For all reasons, that don’t exist, people have rejected Ghanchakkar, yet, let me say this, I believe, Ghanchakkar is, from the last 10 years of Hindi cinema, one of the finest films to have come out from Bollywood. I went into the cinema hall hearing all sorts of negative things about the film, yet I stepped out surprised. I rarely see a film where the tone of the film is set in the very beginning, and the film stays true to it till the end.

Sanju (Hashmi) is a lock artist, who along with Idris (Namit Das) and Pandit (Rajesh Sharma) rob a bank. They decide they will meet three months later. Three months later Sanju loses memory, and everything goes awry. At first, the way the plot is tuned, you get to trust Hashmi, and then in due course of time things get murkier. Hashmi doesn’t remember what he did or where is the money bag. The whole film surrounds, mostly, trying to find it. In a way it is mememto-ish, but the tone is built upon film noir/black comedy on a very Indian template, and that is as good a thing in a Hindi film as that can be. Almost like a Coen Bros. Hindi film.

The Film lies on simple questions, if the guy doesn’t remember anything, how do we make him remember? Is he bluffing? Are we sure? No, we are never sure… with a pretty charged wife, Neetu, who is the only possible compass for us to follow slight directions, it becomes murky on her part as well, as it comes down to trusting your own wife whether she is lying, or she’s not? Is she hiding something? Is Sanju really delusional? The real sense of openness takes this film to another level. For example, we are clearly told Sanju had an accident, but what happened to him? Simply because he is saying he had an accident, is it enough? Is there another ploy at work behind the surface? Any coincidence that we get to see, is it a coincidence really? What is its plausibility? The truth is, we never come to know till the end of the film.


And the end of the film brings down a mechanical god, and it works, trust me.


Its ending works brilliantly. Because it is so consistent to the tone of the film, and it is bold, it doesn’t choose the normal path, it is true to the film, and if you have seen the film, remember Vidya Balan’s Sly smile, if you haven’t seen the film, take notice, it is a subtle, very subtle emotion conveying a lot, and the train is the last local, so it is going to stop somewhere. And no, by mentioning that smile, I have not spoiled anything.

It is a masterful exercise at style, and screwball. Where coincidences are plausible, where things are in dark, the film is mostly during the night with amplified green. Where dots of lights are over the details and dynamic range. Where viewers imagination is triggered more often than usually, and we, who are often spoon-fed by the director, are rather asked to pay attention to the tiny things, and imagine what’s up going on behind the screens. How many times this has happened with us? Scantily… And in Hindi cinema, rarely.

There is so much of breathing space for each character, that you start believing that Balan’s Neetu is possibly coy, breaking out to be someone else, absolutely. Because of her behavior, and the way she talks, she is just on target. Women like Neetu are never like that, they intend to be something, but are one of the shyest women, once in their lives. And all they want from their husband is trust. But you can’t trust her, you can’t trust anybody.


In the film you get hints with whom she is clubbing. Is she clubbing with Pandit and Idris? Or Sanju’s friend? Or her sister?


What is she up to? We can never be sure, we can never be sure whether Sanju is upto something, and the way it ends, if you can predict, it’s worth it. Because for sure you can’t predict all of it. And it’s rare to happen these days. Where clues are hidden, but there aren’t much anyway… most of the film doesn’t pass by in making Sanju run here and there, but force him to think, whether how to get out of the situation, or try to remember what happened. Now if he is trying to get away, or he is trying to remember is again left to audience’s imagination. And if a film can trigger my imagination, it is a rare film. One, that must be lauded, yet it received the hard side of the audience’s hand.

This is Rajkumar Gupta’s third feature film, he has a flair to keep audiences guessing. And be funny at that. It is amazing to see him not lose focus, and not compromise, even at the end. He had his fundamentals right, from the very beginning, that he is making a comedy/noir, and comedy will be black and farcical at the same time. I commend Gupta for attempting comedy like this. It is tough to do it this way, and he has a very, very fine hand at doing it. This is a brilliant exercise in style, and content. And I didn’t expect such severe characterization in a film like this, with the room for breathing being this good.

Yesterday, while stepping out of the cinema hall, I realized, it is very tough for the audiences to digest what they don’t expect. The on screen action isn’t implausible, if this was a simple screwball, people would have adored it, only because it is brave, people have rejected it. This, deserves to be a movie event, and this will go down as a forgettable Friday. This is a film where every dialogue is not related to plot. There is a scene when Idris and Sanju talk about buying a TV and which brand they should focus on. It is a seriously well-crafted scene, and unbelievably out of context, yet completely in sync. And there are many, I could count them, but that is pointless. One of the best films in years that have passed by and, possibly, years to come, has been rejected, be everyone.


By: Salil
Posted: June 29, 2013, 10:24 am


0/5 (0 votes)
0/5 (0 votes)