Ghanchakkar: A complete waste of talent

MUMBAI: One may steal a theme from a foreign film but when one fails to give the film even a sensible, logical title, you know you are party to a lost cause. To copy a foreign film, understanding it is mandatory. Ghanchakkar is inspired from a 2007 Hollywood film titled The Lookout, which was about a bank robbery and a character with anterograde amnesia, which means short-term memory loss. But the film‘s Hindi title suggests a comedy and means an idiot/stupid person. The last film based on memory loss was the Aamir Khan blockbuster Ghajini but that is where the comparison ends.

Ghanchakkar is a ‘twist in the tale‘ story which, at best, can be a limited-duration TV episode. However, the maker stretches it to almost 138 minutes. According to the original film, not only does the protagonist keep losing his memory, he also keeps getting these bouts of anger whichGhanchakkar follows religiously.

Emraan Hashmi is a safebreaker on a sabbatical. He thinks he has made enough to take life easy and enjoy with his wife, Vidya Balan, who plays a Punjabi character for some unexplained reason. That is when an unidentified voice on the phone invites Hashmi to a huge bank heist; the bank, it seems, has a vault which only Hashmi can break open. The sum is expected to be huge, about Rs 35 crore and Hashmi‘s share would be Rs 10 crore.

Balan subscribes to Vogue and such fashion magazines but gives her wardrobe her own version of fashion, usually loud and garish outfits being her thing. Her attempts at Punjabi slang or sounding like a loud Punjaban are as real as her dressing sense. Hashmi on his part has only one dream, to own the biggest television set available in the market. For the sake of this TV set, he agrees to meet the voice on the telephone. The rendezvous is set for 12.30 at night at Andheri station.

The voice on the phone turns out to be Rajesh Sharma aka Pandit and a gun-toting Namit Das. They try to look mean and threatening but manage to look like two comics out of a C-grade farce. For Hashmi to be threatened by Das, half his size, and fat Sharma, does not convince the viewer and this is only the forewarning of what is to follow. The bank is robbed as easily as a deserted house with the three wearing masks of Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Utpal Dutt; the only scare to the robbers coming from a beat cop coming into bank at 2 am to take a leak. That is an idea; bank loos can double as Sulabh Sauchalayas during off hours and continue to make money!

The bank is robbed, the three part ways with Hashmi given the responsibility to keep the money for three months till the heat settles after which they can take their own share. Three months are over and Sharma and Das demand their share. But Hashmi has had an accident in this duration and now suffers from anteograde amnesia due to which he has selective memory losses. He can‘t remember who these two are or which money they are referring to. The two kidnap Balan giving Hashmi a week to recollect where the money is hidden. Later they shift into Hashmi‘s house to finish that mandatory seven-day period. These seven days seem never-ending; they are supposed to be funny but are torturous for the viewer.

The hero also follows the anterograde amnesia to the T as now his memory loss is becoming severe and he now suspects everybody including Balan and vents his anger on people around him. That is when an angel drops in from the blue, literally. He is the real villain who drops in without a warning and ends the painful saga by killing his two stooges, Sharma and Das, as well as Balan and Hashmi and finally his own self.

With a cast of four out of which two are poorly etched, to carry through 138 minutes of pathetically scripted and directed fare, Ghanchakkar fails on all counts. Music is of the chalu kind. Dialogue is in poor taste.

Ghanchakkar is boring and doomed to failure.

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