Ghanchakkar is a crime suspense comedy starring Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan. The story is about Sanjay (Emraan) who robs a bank with two other guys. The guys tell Sanjay to hide the money for three months so that no one suspects them. When the three months is up, they call up Sanjay so that the money can be shared among them. But the two are shocked when Sanjay claims that he doesn’t know them and doesn’t have any money. It is revealed that Sanjay had a car accident after he hid the money and developed memory loss. The guys listen to Sanjay’s doctor but they have their doubts that Sanjay is pretending so that he can keep all the money. So the guys move into Sanjay’s house with Sanjay and wife Neetu (Vidya) to keep an eye on Sanjay while he searches for the money. The rest of the film is about whether Sanjay finds the money.
I have a soft spot for slightly surreal and eccentric films with irony. I liked Aiyyaa, I liked Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola and I think I like Ghanchakkar as well. Such films never do extremely well at the box office because they are unconventional. So it’s normal for the majority of viewers to not like or understand them. Enjoying these types of films requires a different mindset in my opinion because they are less about the story and the performances and more about the contradictions and ironies. I love the obsecurity and wackiness of it all.
I think that when film critics review a film like Ghanchakkar, they miss the main point of the film, that it perhaps has no point at all. I don’t deny that the Indian audience will not connect with the main characters of Ghanchakkar. But they don’t need to. So such films are often rated poorly and criticized to no end. Just because a film is unconventional does it mean that it’s bad? What is a bad film anyway? Isn’t it all a bit subjective? That’s why unless a film is absolutely horrendous, I won’t tell people not to watch it. Even relatively bad films can be seen just because it gives the viewer a perspective. How will you know that a film is bad if you never see bad films?
Moreover, whether someone likes a film or not depends on so many different factors. I think it depends on their worldview, culture, experiences, education and also on their present psychology. If you are not in the mood for a certain genre of film, will you enjoy it? No, but that doesn’t mean that the film is not worth watching. And just as our thoughts change, our tastes change too. There are films which I disliked at first watch, but actually liked years later. Or I may have liked a film a long time ago but may dislike it now.
This is why we need to be open minded when we see films. Reading film reviews is nice. Aside from telling the audience whether a film is worth three hours of their life, it does give viewers new perspectives about cinema. But reviews should not be thought of as something set in stone. It’s just one person’s opinion which might not match yours. The only way to know whether a film is really worth it is to actually see it. No one can tell you what your experience will be when watching a film. This is why I take film reviews with a pinch of salt. For some reason, most people will completely cross out a film because it has bad reviews, or will go to see something because of a good review. Reviews can be indicative of a film’s content and quality, but there is no guarantee that it will be accurate for you. Films are a personal experience and your experience will be unique.
Now that I got that out of the way, back to the film review.
The story of the film is actually very interesting. Sanjay doesn’t remember where he hid the money and these two guys are on his neck constantly threatening him to find it. But forget about remembering where the money is, Sanjay’s memory is getting worse by the day. It’s because of the memory loss and the search of money that Sanjay starts thinking up theories about where the money could be. His frustration causes him to suspect those close to him, like his college friend and even his wife, Neetu.
Neetu is a slightly money minded woman who thinks that she has a good sense of fashion. Her life consists of cooking horrible food and reading fashion magazines. She appears to be a little selfish, but she does love her husband. Vidya has done a good job but her character is more like a supporting role. The film is about Emraan’s character and I think that he did a great job. The Sanjay character had to be played minimally, without elaborated, exagerrated acting. Emraan did that wonderfully. I particularly like his performance in the last scene of the film.
The suspense of the film is effective in the sense that one is left wondering what really happened to the money. But when the money’s location is discovered, it’s too late. At that point, too much has happened and as a turn of irony, the money is of no benefit to any of the characters.
I think if Ghanchakkar had ended differently, the audience could have liked the film more. But Ghanchakkar could not have ended any other way because the film is about cosmic irony. The ending had to be unexpected and unconventional. What all of the characters in the film cared about the most– money– none of them could get. It’s as if a divine power is playing a joke on them and showing them that they are nothing but puppets, mere actors in a play called fate.
Here are some of the funniest scenes in the film:
- The scenes repeated throughout the film where Neetu asks how the food is and Sanjay replies “too salty” “not enough salt” until he stops criticizing her food altogether
- Sanjay’s mom calling him repeatedly in the movie but Sanjay never once listening to her and always hanging up saying that he will call later. He never calls back
- Neetu’s love for reading fashion magazines. She loves them so much that she’s trying to look at a fashion magazine even when she’s kidnapped with tied up hands and taped mouth
- One of the robbers, Idris, takes a vegetable from a man returning home at night, every time he sees him on the train
- The bank robbery where all of the guys are wearing masks, of Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and a third actor I don’t know
- Sanjay keeps a fork in his pocket for protection
- Baba, the original planner of the bank robbery, finds a banana and fork in Sanjay’s pocket. He throws the fork, eats the banana and throws the peel. A few moments later, the banana peel and fork lead to his death
- Sanjay along with everything else, eventually forgets his mother as well as himself
Considering that this is a very late review, I’m sure you’ve either seen the film or decided never to see it. I won’t tell you either way. It’s a personal decision. I personally don’t mind seeing a film even if it’s just for one or two scenes. But I know some people only have time for one or two films per week. If you only have one night a week to see a film, then I’m sure you can find a better film to watch than Ghanchakkar. But if you have plenty of time to kill and enjoy ironies, you may want to give Ghanchakkar a chance.