Ghanchakkar: A dark comedy in disguise!

Published: July 4, 2013
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Balan plays the gaudily dress, Punjabi accented housewife with a spark and Emraan’s stands out with his poker-face expressions till the very end of the movie! PHOTO: PUBLICITY.

The new movie, Ghanchakkar had driven me really and truly Ghanchakkar (confused) – up until I started writing this review!

Directed by Raj Kumar Gupta and starring Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan and Namit Das, Ghanchakkar is not what most people would have expected it to be.

I booked the first-day show for the movie, thinking that I am going to watch a rom-com with the ‘serial kisser’ Emraan Hashmi and the great Vidya Balan!

Sure, we had known from the pre-release synopsis that it was a story about a bank robber who had forgotten where he had hidden his loot and the mayhem that ensues after that. However, I still thought it would turn out to be more Bollywood-ish, with some madcap comedy and a dash of romance.

What we ended up seeing on the screen instead was a crazy, dark comedy/thriller told from the point of view of an amnesiac who is confused, mistrusting and forgetting more by the day. Frankly, at times the audience is confused with the on-screen events too!

If you go with an open mind, you will find Ghanchakkar full of surprises.

Yes, the pace is a little slow but the story lazily grows on you – the story of a thoughtful, sometimes sly portrait of a man whose identity has been shattered. (PS: There’s always a hint that he may be leading everyone on and that it’s all just a show!)

Trust becomes the issue, and it’s in short supply. Can he trust his memory? Can he trust his wife – does she know more than what she pretends to? Did his suddenly rich best friend betray him? And then comes the surprising, out-of-the-box finale.

It is offbeat, dark and leaves the audience with more questions than answers!

Performance wise, both Vidya and Emraan are the tops – they are powerhouse actors and excel once again in their roles. Balan plays the gaudily dress, Punjabi accented housewife with a spark, but since the story revolves more around Emraan’s character, he stands out with his poker-face expressions right till the very end of the movie!

The two lead actors are supported by some fine performances delivered by Rajesh Sharma and Namit Das. Their superbly timed antics are a perfect off-set for Hashmi’s deadpan seriousness and keep the on-goings entertaining.

All said and done, I wish the director had edited the movie better. The run-time (137 minutes) was too long for the story genre and at some points the story just wasn’t moving!

Secondly, Ghanchakkar is a classic case of a bad marketing campaign, where the audience is being duped into thinking they are coming to the cinema to see a comedy caper – which it is not. Had the movie been marketed as a dark comedy, the makers could have really saved themselves a lot of negative word of mouth.

Of late, Bollywood has been churning out a lot of indie/offbeat movies and some of these films, such as Oh My God and Special 26,  have even done great box office business simply by positive word of mouth. I don’t understand why the makers of Ghanchakkar didn’t want to take the marketing risk.

Verdict: Go watch Ghanchakkar because it is an offbeat, funny movie and includes some great performances!

Rating: **1/2

Read more by Samra here or follow her on Twitter @samramuslim

Samra Muslim

Samra Muslim

She has been associated with Etihad Airways, Starwood Hotels & Resort and Zindagi Trust in the past and has recently moved to Digital Marketing Strategy with a leading agency based in Karachi. She tweets @samramuslim twitter.com/samramuslim

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