Ghanchakkar begins on a light note. The opening credits sequence is actually sketch book animation defining the relationship between our lead characters. Sure enough, the first shot is of Sanju (Emraan Hashmi) and Neetu (Vidya Balan) at the dinner table. The classic household quarrel plays itself out. Neetu asks Sanju how the food is. He thinks there is extra salt. And his mother chooses that moment to call him. As quick as that triangular relationship is established (son, wife and mother-in-law), we are also involved in a bank robbery – the defining sequence of the film and also the funniest. Watch out for the antics in this one.
Ghanchakkar revolves around 4 characters – Sanju, Neetu, Pandit (Rajesh Sharma) and Idris (Namit Das). Pandit and Idris, Sanju’s accomplices in the bank robbery are after the loot, Sanju can’t remember where he kept it and Neetu provides the comic relief in this fiasco. The build-up in this film is really good. It’s funny, spot-on and well-timed. But that’s about it. Once the bank has been robbed, there is nothing to look forward to. It’s a cat and mouse chase for the money and false alarms of where it might be or who it might be with.
The humour begins to wane down, the limited locations become boring, the actors don’t have much to do and nobody cares about the suspense. The intermission point is tricky because the film could have taken off in another direction from there. Unfortunately, it backtracks and doesn’t go anywhere.
Vidya Balan is the only saving grace. Her clothes are outrageous. And when her character says, “Tumhe pata tha main fashionable aur ultra-modern hoon”, you can’t help appreciate the irony. The digs taken an fashion magazines projecting trends are only comical while they last. Her ‘Punjaban’ act is refreshing. But what more can a girl do?
Emraan Hashmi is neither bad nor good. There is nothing to take away here. Rajesh Sharma and Namit Das aren’t outstanding either. And I guess, it’s the script to blame. Their characters don’t have an arc for them to explore. They do their best within the boundaries.
Raj Kumar Gupta, who has previously made Aamir and No One Killed Jessica does not mark himself as a distinguished director, at least with this film. While the film’s story is stretched out and lengthy, there is nothing to note in terms of direction either.
Ghanchakkar is an experience that falls flat and not something you don’t want to remove 138 minutes of your life for. And as someone said after the movie, ‘it was made by someone who was on something that really slows down your processes.’ I’m going with 2 stars.