The ApunKaChoice movie review of Ghanchakkar. Rajkumar Gupta’s film Ghanchakkar tries so desperately hard to make you laugh that one pitifully grins at the film and not with it. For a movie trying to raise the cinematic bar with a genre-switching tale of suspense, heist and possible treachery, that’s a tantalizing letdown.
A hypersexual Punjabi housewife with outrageous fashion tastes and a lazy, forgetful husband interested in idiot box more than his tempting better half could have made a riotous combo for any imaginative screenwriter. But Parveez Shaikh and Raj Kumar Gupta squander the opportune character potentials into the humdrum of dinner table squabbles and bedtime banter.
Vidya Balan as a sexually charged housewife all dressed for a palang-tod romp with a decidedly bored hubby (Emraan Hashmi) does perk up the things a bit, and there’s no doubting the rollicking humour of a bank heist sequence where three robbers put on the masks of three celebrated Indian film actors in different facial expressions. But that’s just about it. That’s just about the excitement to be had in a film that comes with the promise of two hours of unfettered fun. The rest is just a laborious plod through a sedately paced screenplay sprinkled with sterile gags that fail to crack you up.
Sanjay (Emraan Hashmi) and Neetu (Vidya Balan) are an odd husband-wife duo. She’s given to reading fashion glossies for inspiration, and manifests that inspiration into dresses so outrageous to leave even Lady Gaga squirming with an inferiority complex. He’s the proverbial lazy lad, one who has to be dragged from the boob tube to the bed for the obvious.
Sanjay is an expert safe-cracker on the path of reformation. He gets a plum offer from two thieves Pandit (Rajesh Sharma) and Idris (Namit Das) to pull off a bank heist. One last job, Sanjay decides, before going straight. The heist is pulled off with aplomb and the booty safely hidden with Sanju until things cool down. Three months later, when the two robbers return to claim their share, Sanju has lost his memory and doesn’t know where the money is. Is he feigning amnesia? Has he forgotten things for real? Does his over-passionate wife have anything to do with it?
Rajkumar Gupta starts the film very well and has a viewer immediately hooked. The bank heist sequence is particularly worth a clap. But thereafter, things go downhill.
The gags are too too intentional and, worse, not funny. The red-herrings, that should not be obvious for their eventual impact, can be spotted. And Ghanchakkar, after being poised for what might have been a rollicking comedy, merely lumbers on until the pre-climax moments when Gupta adds a twist to perhaps make up for all the preceding slumber.
Performance by Vidya Balan isn’t anything to rave about. She does throw herself headlong into the character of a lusty, hatti-katti Punjabi housewife, but her wacky antics, not to forget her Punju accent, fails to amuse after a while. Emraan Hashmi makes a fair fist of his amnesiac husband without ever going overboard. Namit Das hams as a gun-toting hoodlum. Rajesh Sharma is creditable.
Ghanchakkar is doubtlessly a different film from the run-of-the-mill comedies that Bollywood churns out by the dozen. It’s wacky, eccentric, laidback and has a twist in its tail. If only its script was taut and humour sharp, this one could have been a cracker of an entertainer all the way.