The apple never falls too far from the tree. But sometimes it rolls away. Ghanchakkar, written and directed by Raj Kumar Gupta (Aamir, No One Killed Jessica) proves just that. This part-comedy, part-thriller, fully-confused movie starts with a nice premise, stutteringly builds its plot (taking its own sweet time) and then crumbles under its own weight. 

The story is about Sanjay Atre (Emran Hashmi, quite good), a lazy, indifferent and hen-pecked husband to Neetu ‘Bhabhi’ (Vidya Balan, loud & over-rated). He lives a pretty normal life of day-long TV and and boring food, except for the fact that he is an expert cat burglar on a hiatus. The script doesn’t bother with much backstory (thankfully) and introduces Pandit (Rajesh Sharma, Brilliant) and Idrees (Namit Das, adequately competent) who want to rope in Sanju for a bank heist. The heist (a subconscious homage to Point Break‘s ex-President masks) is beautifully set up and executed. Probably (and unfortunately) the only sequence that elicits any laughs in this movie. After the heist, they decide to lay low for some time and keep the money with Sanju for safekeeping. After 3 months, to their dismay, they come to know that Sanju doesn’t remember where he has stowed the loot! What follows next is Pandit and Idrees’s search for money and Sanju’s search for answers to some rather uncomfortable questions.

After a breezy and fabulous first half, the film gets bogged down by too many repeated scenes and multiple dead-ends. If Neetu doesn’t care about her food, she shouldn’t ask for opinions. If she asks for opinions every day then you’d expect her to get better at it! The film finally (phew!) comes to an end after the introduction of an additional character (a deus ex machina construct). This is quite surprising because the story is otherwise right up Raj Kumar Gupta’s alley (remember the helpless protagonist of Aamir and his travails in the beautifully picturised Mumbai?).

Coming to the cast, Emran Hashmi does a pretty commendable job of a confused and helpless man (a role so wonderfully mastered by the under-rated Rishi Kapoor). Rajesh Sharma is great as Pandit, a seemingly polite goon with flashes of terror. Namit Das is competent and brings a circuit-breaker for an otherwise loud OTT role. The loudly dressed and loudly loud Vidya Balan seems to be on a vengeance spree to avenge all the instances where the south Indian character has been caricatured by a north Indian actor in Hindi films. Her forced Punjabi accent and dialogue delivery only goes on to show why casting should fit the demographics of the character and not the other way round. In the weeks to come, this theorem will be proved true once again by Deepika Padukone’s take on a Tamil girl in Chennai Express (Chhhennai Expruss, seriously???)

The technical and music department is pretty ok. I don’t expect anyone from the technical team to put this movie on top of their portfolio. The techno background score by Amit Trivedi is too thrillerish and too comic at various instances whereas the film is neither at any point of time.

To sum it up, Ghanchakkar is a story about a guy who slowly starts to forget the details. The end makes me feel that the guy is Raj Kumar Gupta and not Emran Hashmi.

Verdict: 3/10, Save it for the idiot box (Thanks to UTV Productions, that shouldn’t be too far away)


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