One thing that Bollywood comedies have taught us over the years is that slapstick and humour are synonymous. It’s become a pre-requisite to have brainless, loud, offensive and over the top acts to churn out a laugh riot! If the mere thought of going for such a film makes you break into cold sweat and nervous giggles this week’s new release might just be what you had been waiting for.
Let me make it clear at the outset that Ghanchakkar isn't without flaws but it has its heart at the right place. With rib tickling moments at regular intervals you wouldn't find yourself complaining too much. Not being slapstick proves to be the best thing about this film. In fact the pace and the whole “lazy” demeanour that the film and its protagonist (Sanjay Athray) share is delightful.
Director Rajkumar Gupta who has made intense films like Amir and No One Killed Jessica comes up with a frothy mix of suspense and comedy. The story revolves around the “Lazy Lad” Sanjay Athray – an accomplished couch potato and a skilful thief. He is roped in by two con-men to carry off a bank robbery. Soon after Sanjay loses his memory and in doing so tests the other gang members’ patience. Thus begins this crazy journey down “memory” lane! “Main kahaan hoon” – this “yaadasht khona” (memory loss) motif has been used multiple times in Hindi Cinema and this time the result is purely comic.
The first half is teeming with funny situations and hilarious dialogues all delivered with poker face honestly. Emraan Hashmi has definitely come a long way as an actor and in this one he is so wonderfully understated that it’s high time all lame jokes about his “kiss-ability” be set aside.
His reserved nature contrasts beautifully with the garish dressing sense and loud mouthed character of Vidya. Neetu is every bit the “behenji turned mod” failing to be like the style divas she tries to copy from the magazines by her bed side. Emraan - Vidya seen previously in the “Dirty Picture” make a memorable outing of this one. The only sore point is Vidya’s acquired “punjabiness”. Although she has played the Bengali beauty with aplomb in many of her movies probably the Punjabi-aunty role isn't really her thing or she got too over confident. Whatever be the case her dialogue delivery seems a little forced, almost caricature-like for our comfort.
The film takes a nose dive post interval where the director almost seems to be meandering and the narrative looses steam. Two brilliant actors save the day, Rajesh Sharma (Luv Shuv Te Chicken Khurana fame) who plays Pandit and Namit Das (Wake Up Sid) who plays his side kick Idris. Together they are both a riot and provide the much needed support to the screenplay. The slow pace of the movie casts a spell on us and we get seeped into the whole chase only to be rudely woken up at the climax that seems a bit rushed and not well thought out.
The music department is in good hands with songs by Amit Trivedi and penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya . They definitely lift up the sluggish screenplay. “Ghanchakkar Babu” and “Lazy Lad” are already chart busters. Had the end matched its brilliant beginning we would have carried one happy unsullied memory. Anyway two scenes in particular stand out. Watch out for the one when the actual heist is taking place with the con-men wearing masks! The other is the dining table scene where Vidya’s culinary skills provide us with plenty of ticklish laughs.
So all in all while it suffers from the typical “what went wrong in the second half” syndrome, it is definitely worth a watch purely for its non slapstick humour and some shining performances.