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Ghanchakkar review: Delicious humour and great suspense

Rajkumar Gupta
Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan, Rajesh Sharma, Namit Das, Sanjay Dutt
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Forgetful husbands are a problem for wives everywhere. But this case is a bit different.

Because 'lazy lad' Sanjay (Emraan Hashmi) is suffering from amnesia after a car accident. Which would be fine, but he hid a large amount of money belonging to some goons, and can't remember where the money is now.

You've got to admit - the plot is exhilarating and unique. You watch as Sanjay, his fashion-victim wife Neetu (Vidya Balan) and the two goons (Rajesh Sharma, Namit Das) go around in circles to find that missing suitcase.

But first they have to sort the case of the Vanishing Memory. Is he fibbing, or is he really suffering from amnesia? No one can tell, especially the two goons.

Director Rajkumar Gupta (Aamir, No One Killed Jessica) scatters red herrings all over the place. Some you spot and others lead you on. But you remain involved in the story.

Gupta adds in dollops of humour in the faintest situations. The celebrity masks that the thieves wear while robbing a bank and the expert execution of that sequence makes it the film's highlight.

Other witticisms include the doctor treating Sanjay's amnesia, unable to remember him, and the dialogue around the film Ghajini.

The husband-wife relationship is fraught with light tension even as he objects to her "atrangi" clothes and she calls herself "ultra-modern". Her too-much, too-less seasoning in the food is often the cause of frivolous dinner-time arguments.

And yet he wears the garish red polka-dotted night-suit she bought for him. And she picks up the broom to hit the baddies who try to hurt him. It's a chaotic love equation that's super-enjoyable to watch.

Gupta's foremost strength as a filmmaker has been his unshakeable casting. He has that knack of making unconventional casting choices that always hit the mark.

The film's scene-stealer is undoubtedly Vidya Balan who manages to induce subtlety and nuance into the role of a loud Punjabi woman, who is a fashion disaster despite the magazines she devours. Wearing every colour of the rainbow at once, and saying 'hain' with that Punjabi twang, Balan is an absolute delight.

Not only does she make her character irresistibly entertaining, she also saves it from being a laughable caricature that it would've become in the hands of a lesser actor.

And how commendable is it for a mainstream Bollywood heroine to play an outrageously dressed, overweight wife who is as annoying as she is adorable. Hats off to Balan, yet again!

Emraan Hashmi does well as the befuddled man who has to run down the stairs to see his building's name for placing a wine order over the phone. Surrounded by people and situations he doesn't remember, it's an interesting character and Hashmi does it justice.

It is to Hashmi's credit and perhaps his unique position in the industry, that he is making very interesting film choices.

Rajesh Sharma (Special 26, The Dirty Picture) deserves special mention as the good-natured goon who calls himself Panditji and addresses his victims as 'bhaiya, bhabhi'.

Namit Das is superb in the scene where he's caught with his pants down. Parvin Dabbas is dependably good in the cameo.

With music by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya, the songs are a treat. The superb background score adds to the fun.

Where the film falters is towards the second half. It's like a great build-up to a joke that falls flat in the punch-line. So yes, there is suspense that heightens towards the finale only to throw up a disappointing revelation.

The pace is a bit sketchy as well, with situations repeating themselves. And then, of course, you wonder why Sanjay isn't trying to find the cash by pulling his house down and looking in every crevice.

But these are pardonable flaws in an otherwise entertaining film. Watch it for Vidya Balan, the delicious humour and the suspense. Forgive the rest and you'll have a blast!

Rating: 3.5 stars


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