Ekkees Topon Ki Salaami…20 guns too many

Selling honesty as a theme is a tough proposal. It is considered boring and not as readily acceptable as corruption is. Ekkees Topon Ki Salaami juxtaposes one honest man who never wavered despite temptations and desperations, against a totally sold-out system including the local CM. How that honest man, in whom even his sons don’t have faith, finally gets his way is an interesting idea.

Anupam Kher works for the Mumbai municipal department’s malaria control wing, setting out every day with his fogging machine diligently to do his job. His two sons, Divyendu Sharma and Manu Rishi, are totally wayward. Sharma, the dominant of the two, does hatchet jobs for the local CM and is the star of the local political branch (shakha).

Divyendu holds a degree of influence over the CM, Rajesh Sharma. When he gets hurt at a pro-CM rally, the CM foots his five-star hospital bill. Divyendu’s hotline in the CM’s house is his girlfriend, Aditi Sharma. She is the trustworthy aide of the CM.

There is a scandal breaking out against the CM; he is reported to have gifted a Rs 12 crore worth bungalow on sea-facing, government land to his concubine, Neha Dhupia. The news is all over and Neha has no scruples using it to gain mileage for herself. While she is busy telling the media the inside story, the CM is ashamed that he is in news for a meagre Rs 12 crore scam when anything below Rs 1000 crore is considered petty cash!

Meanwhile, it is D day for Kher. He is due for retirement and goes to the office beaming for a golden handshake, a certificate and a box of sweets. Instead, what he gets is a humiliating discharge sans retirement benefits. His fault, the day before, the last day of his duty, was that he did not surrender his fog machine officially. He is accused of stealing it and selling it to cheat the municipality.

Kher is humiliated and devastated, and on his deathbed as a result of the shame, but his son’s only care to scavenge on whatever little his dead bones have to offer. They want his pension and they want to inherit the municipality-allotted room. They want him to sign a letter asking for a pardon for stealing the fogging machine so his benefits are restored. Kher would sign that pardon letter on one condition; his sons should send him off with a 21-canon salute.

Divyendu has sworn to fulfil his father’s last wish not knowing how!

However, he sees a ray of hope. The CM’s sexual excitement with Neha has given him his third, final fatal heart attack. He is declared dead. Having died in office, he will get a state funeral along with a 21 canon salute.

By this time, the sons have realised that if anybody deserved a 21 canon salute, it is Kher and not the CM. Since there is no way Kher can get that honour, things will have to be managed to make Kher take the CM’s place.

This was a good idea, but, it consumes a lengthy second half and goes into too much detailing and emotional overload. By the time it happens the viewer is not emotionally connected, just relieved.

The film has spoilt its bright idea by taking too long over it. The director has an eye for detail but no control over content and needed a better editor. Dialogue is funny at times and bland at others. Divyendu is impressive. Manu Rishi is a natural. Aditi is very good. Rajesh Sharma is good as always, a seasoned actor that he is. Neha is effective in a brief role. Kher plays the signature role he started off with in Saaranash. Uttara Baokar and Sudhir Pandey are fine.

Ekkees Topon Ki Salaami would have been watchable had the approach had been on a lighter note towards its goal.

Producers: Anurradha Prasad and Abhinav Shukla.

Director: Ravindra Gautam.

Cast: Divyendu Sharma, Neha Dhupia, Anupam Kher, Manu Rishi, Aditi Sharma, Rajesh Sharma, Uttara Baokar, Sudhit Pandey, Aashif Sheikh.

Spark Is missing

They just don’t work, these films about UP-Bihar local feudal gang lords-cum-politicians. After all, UP has one such gang lord in each village. It is the same old story: The more gun-wielding goons you have on your muster, the bigger your don-ness. Focusing on just one such gang makes things extra monotonous so Spark has some ex-loyalists from the same gang rising to form their own. Nothing you have not seen before; nothing that you have approved either.

It starts like a 1970s film as some shotgun brandishing guys barge in to a haveli and shoot down two women and a man. However, because of an alert victim, a small child is hidden in a closet. He survives and makes this story into an unending saga.

Rajneesh Duggal, like all other heroes, is a popular member of his college excelling at everything from dramatics to debates. During rehearsal, with the college lacking female talent, the college invites Shubhashree Ganguly. Both get acquainted but Duggal’s time in India has ended.

Duggal gets into an altercation with the nephew of the biggest bahubali of the region, Ashutosh Rana, who, like in all such films and like all such bahubali types, literally runs the local governments, granting of contracts and so on. Duggal is bashed up by Rana. Ranjeet has brought up the orphan Duggal and loves him like his son. He decides to dispatch Duggal off to Germany to keep him away from trouble.

As things would have it, Duggal spots Shubsharee in Germany; it is time to resume the romance because there won’t be time for that once the film moves into action mode.

Back home, the villains have realised that the family they set out to kill 20 years back has one survivor, Duggal. However, they don’t know who he is, what he looks like and where is he. Only Ranjeet can reveal that.

Govind Namdeo, an ex-henchman of Rana has branched out with his own ambition to be the next leader. He knows he can use Duggal against Rana by revealing to him that he is the one who ordered his family killed 20 years back.

What follows are a lot of revelations you don’t really care to know, followed by too many back-stabbings. Finally it is time for the showdown where the hero deals with hundreds of gun-toting and sword-swishing goons, leaving him and Rana to fight it out alone.

A very poor concept which is out of sync with any era, with direction to match. Duggal is okay while Shubshashree has a pleasant demeanour. Ranjeet supports well. Rana, Namdeo, Manoj Joshi are the loud villains performing more through decibels than acting. The musical score offers a few pleasant numbers. Some parts have been shot in Germany but it is no help.

Spark is a poor film.

Producer: Naresh Gupta.

Director: V K Singh.

Cast: Rajnees Duggal, Shubhashree Ganguly, Ashutosh Rana, Govind Namdeo, Manoj Joshi, Rati Agnihotri, Ranjeet.

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