UTV Motion Pictrues’ Ghanchakkar (UA) is the story of a bank robbery and its aftermath. Sanjay Atre (Emraan Hashmi), married to Nitu (Vidya Balan), is in two minds about getting involved in a bank robbery. Ultimately, he gives in and helps Pandit (Rajesh Sharma) and Idrees (Namit Das) to loot Rs. 30 crore from a bank. It is decided to share the spoils after three months. Sanjay is given the responsibility of keeping the crores in safe custody for the three months. However, to the dismay of Pandit and Idrees, Sanjay has a memory loss in the intervening three months so that he can’t remember anything about Pandit and Idrees, about the bank robbery, and, therefore, about where he has kept the suitcase containing the cash.
Ar first, Pandit and Idrees don’t believe that Sanjay has had a memory loss but once they are half-sure, they shift into his house so that they can monitor his every move. At times, they feel, he indeed can’t remember anything; at other times, they fear, he is fooling them. However, they have no other option but to wait for him to tell them about the missing suitcase.
Even as Sanjay is trying his level best to remember where he has hidden the suitcase, he goes and meets his friend, Uttam Nagpal (Parvin Dabas). Uttam has just won a lottery, Sanjay learns, prompting him (Sanjay) to believe that he must’ve kept his money with Uttam who must’ve then spent it and hidden it from him after his memory loss. As if to confirm his worst fears, Uttam shifts to London without telling Sanjay. Why, Sanjay also starts believing that his own wife, Nitu, was having an affair with Uttam and she would soon join him in London to live with him there happily ever after.
Meanwhile, Sanjay keeps getting a phone call, enquiring after the money. He doesn’t know who is calling him till the man appears in front of him.
Who is the secret caller? What is his relationship with Pandit and Idrees? Where is the suitcase containing the Rs. 30 crore? Has Sanjay really had a memory loss or is it just a façade to not pay Pandit and Idrees their share in the loot? Does Nitu know where the money is? Is she really having an affair with Uttam? Has Uttam double-crossed Sanjay and made away with the money? Will Nitu and Uttam shift base to London? What does the secret caller do ultimately? What happens to Pandit, to Idrees, to Nitu and to Sanjay? And what happens to the secret caller?
Parvez Sheikh’s story is childish. It rests on a weak premise. Also, it is a comedy which suddenly turns into a serious suspense drama with bloodshed and gore towards the end. The screenplay, written by Parvez Sheikh and Raj Kumar Gupta, is long-drawn and very slow, testing the audience’s patience. Even though the major part of the drama is a comedy, most of the scenes are so dull and lengthy that they fail to make the audience laugh. In fact, so drab is the comedy that it starts irritating the viewers after some time. It is when the audience does not laugh in the scenes meant to be funny that it starts questioning the intent of many scenes. For one, why, in the first place, did Pandit and Idrees allow the suitcase containing the cash to be in Sanjay’s control? Like they moved into his house after three months, the least they could have done was to have shifted into his house from the day of the bank robbery. Or, at least, the three could’ve jointly hidden the suitcase at a safe place and done something so that the access to it could be had by the three jointly only. Since the money involved was Rs. 30 crore, this is the bare minimum one would expect the masterminds to do. But the writers pretend that such a possibility never existed or such a thought did not even occur to Pandit and Idrees. Also, Sanjay’s attempts at trying to remember where he had hidden the suitcase look half-baked at times and genuine at other times. The behaviour of Nitu is so carefree even after Pandit and Idrees have threatened her husband that it does not seem believable at all. The writer must’ve realised this because there is a scene in which Sanjay asks Nitu why she is not bothered, and Nitu replies that at least one of them had to remain cool and composed, but that scene serves to underline the defective screenplay rather than answering the question which crops up in the audience’s minds – why is Nitu behaving the way she is? The writers have tried to add different humour at various places (for example, Idrees having phone sex with his girlfriend) but even that humour falls flat on its face. It embarrasses the viewers more than entertaining them. Nitu’s garish costumes may be funny but that hardly constitutes comedy on which the viewers would laugh their guts out. Her loud acting and her constant punctuation of her dialogues with ‘hain?’ is also not at all funny. Probably, the biggest shock for the audience is the climax which just doesn’t go with the rest of the film. It is like a train changing its track completely and unannounced. Even the dialogues, penned by Raj Kumar Gupta and Parvez Sheikh, are so routine that they do not have much of an impact. They are funny at a few places only.
Emraan Hashmi does a fair job but his fans are bound to feel disappointed because this is definitely not the kind of roles they would like to see him doing. Vidya Balan is earnest about her ole and delivers a sincere performance but to not much avail because the acting fails to evoke laughter which is what exactly it is meant to do. Rajesh Sharma does well but again, the impact is nothing much. Namit Das performs reasonably well but is let down by the weak script. Parvin Dabas is ordinary in a special appearance, again due to lack of anything substantive to do. Prema Sakhardande is effective as the mother of Sanjay Atre. Sunil Sharad Vishrani is okay as the man on the train. Vishwanath Chatterjee (as real estate broker Mohan), Sarvinder S. (as the servant at Uttam Nagpal’s house) and Majinder Singh ‘Bunty’ (as the Sardar cabbie) are alright.
Raj Kumar Gupta’s direction is weak. It seems, comedy is not his forte. Or maybe, the script is so poor that even an able director like Raj Kumar Gupta could not use it to advantage. The music (Amit Trivedi) is okay. The title track and the ‘Lazy lad’ song are interesting. Lyrics (Amitabh Bhattacharya) are alright but not outstanding. Song picturisations (choreographer: Uma Shankar Nair) are so-so. Amit Trivedi’s background music is fair. Camerawork (Setu) is quite good. Sets (Mayur Sharma and Helen Jones) are in keeping with the mood of the film. Action (Parvez-Feroz) are okay. Aarti Bajaj’s editing is not sharp enough.
On the whole, Ghanchakkar is not half as funny as it ought to have been. Since it doesn’t make the audience laugh or even smile much, it will fail to make the distributors laugh all the way to the bank. In fact, it will find the going at the box-office tough and will entail losses to all concerned.