Amitabh Bachchan in a negative avtar just got more appealing after watching Aks. That is one reason why anyone can safely give this film a chance as I have. Sadly enough Amitabh’s role is one with negative shades only but not an out-an-out villain. Nevertheless Gehri Chaal turned out to be a pretty decent thriller.
The film has an interesting but complicated premise. It revolves around Ratan (Amitabh) whose father commits suicide after stealing 20 lakhs from the bank he worked at for so many years. Ratan hides the suicide note due to shame and does not even tell his sister Hema (Hema Malini).
A few weeks later Ratan becomes assistant manager at the same bank due to his fathers "honesty". Ratan accepts the promotion but inside the guilt of his father is eating him alive. One night he gets a visit from a mysterious man who knows the truth about what Ratan’s father did. He will go to the police if Ratan does not come with him. Ratan is taken to a mysterious underground lair where a hidden man tells Ratan what he has to do if he wants his father’s reputation to stay untarnished. He has to help a gang of crooks rob the bank he works at! The crooks need exact replicas of the keys to the vaults and only Ratan can do this since he is a trusted member of the bank. Ratan accepts their deal gets them the keys. As it happen the bank is robbed and the crooks even take incriminating photos of Ratan to ensure he doesn´t go to the cop. The night the bank is robbed Hema happens to witness some of the robbery hence she becomes an eyewitness. Ratan tells her not to go to the police since they will harass her.
A few weeks down the track Ratan’s friend Saagar (Jeetendra) arrives. Their friendship is one that has lasted many a years. Saagar’s occupation is unknown to Ratan and Hema; due to a few suspicious circumstances Ratan and Hema both believe that Saagar is a jewel thief. But in fact Saagar is far from that, he is in fact a C.B.I officer here to investigate the bank robbery case. The question if the truth will ever prevail lies in the rest of the film.
The story of the film is a gripping one and it reminds one of a Hollywood thriller. The first half of the movie is simply superb and filled with lots of tension and suspense filled moments. The film has an almost “Hitchcock” feel to it. The screenplay of the movie is also very tight indeed, though the climax could have been better since it is a letdown compared to the overall movie.
Acting wise the honours go to Amitabh Bachchan as Ratan. Despite the fact that Jeetendra has been given the author-backed role as the film’s main protagonist, Amitabh is simply excellent in a supporting role. His character is one with grey shades, but it is not an evil character. He is forced to do evil by others and due to the circumstances. The reason why Bachchan’s performance is memorable is the fact that he gives a very natural and raw performance here. One forgets that they are watching Amitabh Bachchan and can easily get involved in his character. Jeetendra as the dashing leading man is good in his role. Whether it is the romance, comedy or action he does it all with competence and confidence. This is the first and only time according to my knowledge that Jeetendra and Amitabh Bachchan starred together and the scene featuring the two together Amitabh is slight a few notches ahead due to his towering presence. Hema Malini delivers a good account of herself in a stereotypical role. She looks gorgeous. Prem Chopra as Madan is about as evil as expected.
Musically Laxmikant Pyarelal’s tunes fit well into the movie though none of them will stick to mind after the movies over.
Technically the film is slick for its time era and the cinematography is well done.
Director Sridhar does a fairly good job as directing a thriller. He gets right into the storytelling straight away. He moves the movie at a breakneck pace right to the last 20 minutes where the movie comes to a halt. This is the point which makes the climax of the movie is a letdown in comparison to the rest of the movie. What seems like it is building up to something very big turns out to be very typical.
Certain scenes in the movie will grip the viewer. Notable ones being the scene where Amitabh Bachchan secretly swaps the two bags, the scene where Jeetendra finds out who the real Prem Chopra is and presents it to Amitabh or the scene where Amitabh attempts to murder Jeetendra!
Gehri Chaal is a watch able thriller for its worthy performances and a gripping premise, but if you are expecting a thriller in the same calibre as say Majboor or Don then you will be highly disappointed!