Gone in several chakkars

Ghanchakkar
Hindi (U/A)¬¬
Director: Rajkumar Gupta
Cast: Emraan Hashmi,
Vidya Balan, Rajesh Sharma, Namit Das

When one decides whether to watch a film, the pedigree of the key players are usually a clinching factor. And the dramatis personae of Ghanchakkar, on both sides of the camera, have some enviable pedigree. Director Rajkumar Gupta has the critically acclaim of Aamir and No One Killed Jessica (NOKJ) under his belt.

Vidya Balan has proven quite the tinseltown chameleon, transforming from the de-glam Sabrina Lal in NOKJ to the over-the-top Silk in The Dirty Picture to the demure protagonist of Kahaani to the fashion-crazed Punjabi wife to a Marathi in Ghanchakkar. Emraan Hashmi is diversifying his acting portfolio too, and Rajesh Sharma and Namit Das are character actors who have proven their mettle more than once.

As a result, when you sit down to watch Ghanchakkar, your appetite whetted by the promise a story of a heist whose loot is hidden by a man who starts forgetting things thanks to an accident, you really want a cracker of a time. And the film, at least in the first 45 minutes or so, sets up the premise for exactly that. Unfortunately, the story fizzles out after that, and what you are given in the end is the feeling of profound confusion over what to feel about whom.

But, like the King of Hearts wanted in Alice in Wonderland, let’s begin at the beginning. Sanjay Athrey lives in Mumbai with wife Neetu, who has talked him out of his safe-cracking ways.

But when two other cons make Sanjay a fresh offer, he decides to have a last crack (pun intended) at what he does best. The trio pulls off the heist, despite unforeseen circumstances, and the money is entrusted with Sanjay, who can be trusted not to flee as he has settled down. This happens within the first half hour, setting the pace for a blister of a film, but then comes the total letdown.

Of course, the pursuit of the bag of money takes full preference, but it becomes so paramount that it is not until the end that you begin to feel for the man who is truly losing his memory, and that’s not even the first flaw of the film!

Sanjay is said to have anteretrograde amnesia, wherein the brain cannot create new memories, but he seems to have retrograde amnesia too, which his doctor should have immediately diagnosed! Also, why would Sanjay hide the money at a place that could cause harm to someone he holds dear?

There is actually little reason to watch this film, unless you are looking for everyone to get their final comeuppance. And if you do watch it, the resulting disapointment is a comeuppance you deserve.

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