Ghanchakkar: A dark comedy in disguise!

Published: July 4, 2013

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

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Asjad

    Probably the end will make a difference of 10-20 karor to the movie, brave call from the team.Recommend

  • nitin

    Mind blowing acting by Emran hasmi….he is better thn any khan or kapoors…best actorRecommend

  • Samra Muslim

    @Asjad: what exactly are you talking about when you say ‘brave call by the team’Recommend

  • SAL

    Why are you guys so fascinated by indian movies? Writing a review is shear waste of time. Huh! Recommend

  • Usama Qayyum

    What is the point in publishing and preaching Indian content in Pakistan ? .When our TV channels are banned in India .i dont know from what kind of inferiority complexes from which burger elite secular class of my country is facing from ? Recommend

  • Naveen

    @Usama Qayyum:
    Huh! Which Pak channel is banned in India (please don’t quote some weirdo channel run by Sir Zaid Hamid or Taliban guys)? Let alone channels, even the good Pakistani movies (whenever Pakistan’s morbid film industry churns out some) are screened often in Indian theatres. Infact the last movie I saw at a multiplex was ‘Bol’ in Bangalore.Recommend

  • Sridhar

    @Usama Qayyum
    There are so many regional, subregional channels in India that Pakistani TV channels will not even make an impression, however good they are. It is just a rat race out there. No channels are banned. Nobody is just interested in putting pakistani shows on Indian TV. It just won’t sell.Recommend

  • Humaid Merchant

    I don’t get it.

    You say: “Go watch Ghanchakkar because it is an offbeat, funny movie and includes some great performances” but then you give it 2 and a half stars? Out of 5 stars i’m assuming?. Getting mixed signals here. Based on your review i still can’t figure out if its a good movie or a bad one.Recommend

  • Samra Muslim

    @Humaid Merchant: apologies for confusing you. 2.5 stars because the movie has its flaws – but then so do blockbusters like Yeh Jawani too … so watch it with an open mind, because it is an offbeat, indie movie – unlike the typical masala Bollywood churns out …!!! Recommend

  • Parvez

    Watched the movie yesterday…………………enjoyed it a lot……..thanks.

  • Samra Muslim

    @Parvez: pleasure :)Recommend