Gali Gali Chor Hai
Gali Gali Chor Hai review: A shallow satire
By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Friday 03 February 2012
Gali Gali Chor Hai
Akshaye Khanna, Shriya Saran, Mugdha Godse, Satish Kaushik, Rajpal Yadav, Veena Malik
The film begins with Kailash Kher?s earthy voice singing about corruption and how people best suited in Chambal are now living in Delhi.
The common man and his tale has always been an inspiration?it has the right amount of pathos and comedy. Iconic TV series Office Office built its premise and years of success on the ordinary person and their struggle against an impossibly corrupt system.
In Gali Gali Chor Hai, the setting is sleepy Bhopal. The protagonist?a simpleton? is Bharat (Akshaye Khanna, a bit too dapper). He is a bank cashier and plays Hanuman in the local Ramleela where he actually deserves to play Ram. But the MLA?s bratty brother beats him to the spot; a symbolic representation of his life as well.
Things take a turn for the worse when the MLA, a bully, asks Bharat to loan out his spare room for party work and he refuses. The cops (Annu Kapoor, superb) are hand-in-glove with the politician?s machinations. Bharat (of course, the name is symbolic) is summoned to the police station on the slightest pretext.
The cop insists that a table fan from his home has been stolen. Despite his refusal, he is forced to hire a lawyer and buy a witness to win his ?case?. The harassment continues as he is then forcibly arrested on another matter.
Dialogue is often entertaining and insightful. On asking the thief who has allegedly stolen his rickety table fan, ?Aap chori kyon karte hain?, the latter shoots back, ?Aap naukri kyon karte hain??
Reminiscent of Priyadarshan?s films that were set in the small-town, writer-director Rumi Jaffrey too, delves into the daily life of the small-town family. Indeed the quirks of a small-town life are most entertaining, like a man interrupting the Ramleela saying, ?Bunty Gheewale ki taraf se sau rupaiye?. The comedy-of-errors finale involving a cloth bag is equal parts fun and clich?d.
Satish Kaushik is superb as the hyper and good-hearted father. Shriya Saran is a delight as the strong-head and supportive schoolteacher who?s married to Bharat. As for Akshaye Khanna, despite his yuppy styling, he?s earnest and in character. Always proven to be a fine actor, Khanna lets Bharat?s goodness shine through at all times.
In the end, the film is somewhat watchable for its characters (especially the peripheral ones), performances and dialogue. It however fails on a fundamental point?touted as a film about corruption, Gali Gali? is a crashing disappointment in its commitment to the cause.
Other than slapping a local cop and politico, there is no other closure given to the problem. One has seen enough of these issue-based satires that offer no searing thought, no real perspective. The purpose of a satire is not just to make you laugh, but in using the humour to communicate a more vital and pertinent thought. In that context, Gali Gali Chor Hai is too shallow to qualify as a real satire. Too bad, really.
Rating: Two and a half stars
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