EKKEES TOPPON KI SALAAMI
Nautanki Films, PEN and Shikhar Films’ Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami (UA) is the story of an honest sweeper and his two dishonest sons. Joshi (Anupam Kher) is a very honest sweeper who works for the municipal corporation. He wants his two sons, Shekhar (Manu Rishi Chadha) and Subhash (Divyendu Sharma), to also embrace honesty but they are epitomes of dishonesty because they feel, dishonesty is the best policy. Subhash aligns with the state’s corrupt chief minister, Daya Shankar Pandey (Rajesh Sharma), much to the heartburn of his principled father.
It is now time for Joshi’s retirement and he is looking forward to the certificate of merit his employers will give him on his last day at work. Meanwhile, his sons, afraid that they would all have to vacate the accommodation provided by the municipal corporation, arrange for funds to pay a wheeler-dealer corporator so that the house could be transferred in their names after their father’s retirement.
As bad luck would have it, Joshi’s senior (Anurag Arora) accuses him of fraud and cheating on the last day of service. Why, even disciplinary action is to be launched against him. Joshi is distraught and dejected. His sons, who’ve paid Rs. 10 lakh to have the house transferred in their names, are scared that their bribe money would go down the drain as the flat would never be theirs because of the disciplinary action being initiated against their father. They try to force their father to sign a letter of apology so that their Rs. 10 lakh would not go to waste. However, the principled father is unwilling to sign. When Subhash forces his father to sign the apology letter by promising to do whatever he desires, Joshi asks him to get him a 21-gun salute, which is reserved for VIPs, as he (Joshi) feels, he has been an ideal citizen of the country. In the heat of the moment, Subhash promises to fulfil his father’s wish, knowing fully well that a 21-gun salute is not for common men. Just then, Joshi passes away as he can’t bear the humiliation hurled upon him.
Subhash’s girlfriend, Tanya (Aditi Sharma), now asks Subhash to fulfil the last wish of his father. Just then, news of the chief minister’s sudden death is announced. It is also announced that his last rites would be performed with a 21-gun salute.
Even as preparations are afoot for the funeral of Joshi, Subhash’s conscience is awakened. He suddenly realises the selflessness of his late father and appreciates the ideals and principles he stood for. He now vows to fulfil his father’s dying wish – a 21-gun salute for him. At first agitated at the younger brother’s far-fetched plan, elder brother Shekhar soon becomes one with Subhash.
How the two dishonest sons of one of the most honest persons of the city move heaven and earth to fulfil their father’s last wish is what the drama is all about.
Rahil Qaazi has penned a message-oriented drama with a good dose of entertainment. It is about the victory of the common man and about living life with complete honesty. No doubt, the screenplay, also written by Rahil Qaazi, is a bit too convenient and resorts to a lot of cinematic liberties but the entertainment quotient keeps the film engaging and engrossing for the audience. The first part of the first half is light and relies on witty dialogues to entertain. The second part of the pre-interval portion becomes very emotional and will make the weak-hearted cry a lot. The scenes in which Joshi is humiliated in the office, and the scenes in which his sons realise the sacrifices made by their father are indeed heart-wrenching. So also are the scenes in which the two sons force their father to sign an apology letter although he has done no wrong!
The post-interval portion becomes a bit too lengthy and long-drawn as also somewhat convenient. Yet, the climax has its share of emotions which are heartwarming. Rahil Qaazi’s dialogues are absolute gems and add to the fun quotient in the light scenes and the emotional drama in the serious scenes.
Anupam Kher does a fantastic job as Joshi and lives the character of the honest sweeper. He is superb. Divyendu Sharma is first-rate as Joshi’s younger son, Subhash. His acting, body language and facial expressions are just too wonderful. Manu Rishi Chadha performs splendidly as Shekhar. He gets into the skin of the character and emotes extraordinarily. Aditi Sharma is supremely natural as Tanya. Rajesh Sharma entertains in the role of chief minister Daya Shankar Pandey. Neha Dhupia is very effective as his mistress, Jayaprabha. Uttara Baokar shines in the role of the chief minister’s mother. Her character as well as acting are entertaining. Supriya Kumari does a truly fine job of Shekhar’s wife. Sudhir Pande provides good entertainment with his natural acting. Bhagwan Tiwari lends very fine support as the security chief at the chief minister’s house. Anurag Arora leaves a mark as Joshi’s senior who is honest like Joshi. Aasif Shaikh is endearing as the television journalist. Anjali Ujwane has her moments as the mother-in-law of Shekhar. Gagan Gupta makes his presence felt as the wheeler-dealer corporator. Others lend great support.
Ravindra Gautam’s direction is excellent. His narrative style keeps the audience involved, engrossed and entertained from the start till the end. Ram Sampath’s music is quite nice. Sandeep Nath’s lyrics are weighty. Pony Verma’s choreography is functional. Ram Sampath’s background music is of a good standard. Sanjay Memane’s cinematography is fine. Wasiq Khan’s production designing is appropriate. Amitabh Shukla and Sanjay Sharma have done a nice job of the editing.
On the whole, Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami is an entertaining, message-oriented film with a strong emotional base. It has merits but due to its very poor initial, dull promotion and dull pre-Diwali days ahead, it will go largely unnoticed. Even positive word of mouth will not help much so that the film will turn out to be a resounding flop.