Mukund Purohit Production Pvt. Ltd. and Wisdomtree Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s Zed Plus (UA) is a political satire. Aslam Khan (Adil Hussain) runs a puncture repair shop in a village of Rajasthan. He lives with his wife, Hameeda (Mona Singh), and their little son. He is at loggerheads with his neighbour, Habib (Mukesh Tiwari), who is jealous of Aslam Khan because both the married men lust for the same woman in the village, Saeeda (Ekavali Khanna). Habib’s wife, Fauzi­ya (Shivani Tanksale), only aggravates matters between Aslam and Habib.

The mosque in the village is being looked after by one person of Aslam Khan’s very large family and when disputes over the sharing of income of the mosque arise in the family, the village panchayat rules that every family member would get to serve as the khadim of the dargah, for one day in a year. The dargah has immense following.

One day, the country’s Prime Minister (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) himself decides to visit the dargah in a bid to save his government from collapsing. As luck would have it, Aslam Khan is scheduled to act as the khadim of the dargah, on that day. The Prime Minister, it may be mentioned here, can barely speak or understand Hindi, while Aslam Khan hardly knows a word of English, the language spoken by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s officer on special duty, Dixit (K.K. Raina), translates the brief conversation between the two. Besides asking the Prime Minister to do the rituals, the innocent Aslam Khan also complains of how he feels threatened by his neighbour. While Aslam Khan is speaking about his neighbour, Habib, the Prime Minister misinterprets it as a threat to Aslam Khan from the neighbouring country, Pakistan. As the Prime Minister gets the news of a favourable court order, as soon as he sets foot in the dargah, he agrees to provide Z security to Aslam Khan, in a show of largesse.

Aslam Khan is bewildered with the security provided to him merely because of the threat he perceives from his neighbour. Inspector Rajesh (Rahul Singh) and his large contingent of commandos take charge of Aslam Khan’s security. The news of the security provided by the Prime Minister to a mere khadim, owing to the threat he faces from the neighbouring coun­try, soon becomes public. The villagers, unaware of any such threat, are shocked. Soon, Aslam Khan clears the air with the Prime Minister’s officer on special duty but it is too late now, to withdraw the Z security as that would expose the Prime Minister’s stupidity. Therefore, Dixit asks Aslam Khan to pretend as if he has been provided the security cover because of a real threat to him from the neighbouring country. As time flies, Aslam Khan becomes a veritable VIP in his village. In fact, his entire life is turned upside down because of the security cover. Why, with the large security contingent, Aslam Khan now finds it difficult, almost impossible, to meet his secret beloved, Saeeda, with whom he is having an extra-marital affair. However, Aslam Khan and his family continue to enjoy the perquisites which come with the Z security.

Aslam Khan’s popularity in the village grows. The chief minister of Rajasthan sees a golden opportunity in this and announces Aslam Khan’s name as the ruling party’s candidate, in the forthcoming elections. The hapless Aslam Khan now starts campaigning for the elections. Meanwhile, the terrorist kingpin (Sanjay Mishra) from the neighbouring country sends two of his goons to spy on Aslam Khan as he is not aware of anyone of that name being issued a threat.

What happens thereafter? Does Aslam Khan get sucked into politics or does his conscience force him to reveal the truth to the voters, or, in other words, to the villagers? Do the neighbouring country’s terrorists identify Aslam Khan or not? Do the terrorists target Aslam Khan? What is the role of Aslam Khan’s wife, Hameeda, in this entire façade?

The story of the political satire is penned by Ramkumar Singh and reveals how a common man’s life can be overturned due to a mere communication gap and a resultant order of the Prime Minister. In that sense, the story is interesting and engaging but only for the class audience, because it rests on a small misunderstanding. The large mass base of audience will not be able to appreciate the inability of the officer on special duty to convey the truth to the Prime Minister and have the security cover discontinued, due to the media coverage the withdrawal might receive. The screenplay, written by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi and Ramkumar Singh, is equally class-appealing. The first half has many light moments which bring a smile on the faces of the elite viewers and occasional laughter too. However, the post-interval portion loses its grip on the audience as the fun element reduces considerably. The drama becomes serious and the audience gets the feeling that it is being stretched too much, thereby further diluting its impact. Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi and Ramkumar Singh’s dialogues are intelligent and entertaining.

Adil Hussain does an excellent job as Aslam Khan. He plays the commoner who becomes a VIP overnight, so wonderfully that it is a delight to watch him. Mona Singh is simply wonderful as Aslam Khan’s better half, Hameeda. Mukesh Tiwari is entertainingly effective as the jealous neighbour, Habib. As Habib’s wife, Fauziya, Shivani Tanksale lends terrific support. Ekavali Khanna is natural as Saeeda. Kulbhushan Kharbanda leaves a mark as the Prime Minister of India. As his officer on special duty, K.K. Raina is first-rate. Rahul Singh provides able support as inspector Rajesh. Sanjay Mishra makes his presence felt as the terrorist head in the neighbouring country. Dr. Anil Rastogi (as the chief minister of Rajasthan), Ravi Jhankal (as minister Lalit Chaturvedi), Gyan Prakash (as paanwala BBC), Vicky Ahuja (as terrorist Munna) and Vinod Acharya (as terrorist Babu) are natural. Hrishitaa Bhatt adds glamour in song-dances. Sukhwinder Singh makes his presence felt in song-dances. Others are adequate.

Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s direction is lovely for the political satire he has made. No doubt, the script has limited appeal but given that, his narration is efficient. Music (by Sukhwinder Singh and Nayab) captures the flavour of Rajasthan, where the film is based. At least two to three songs are appealing. But it must be said that the songs sometimes look forced into the drama. Manoj Muntashir’s lyrics are appropriate. Bhushan Lakhandri’s choreography is eye-filling. Bapi-Tutul’s background music is of a good standard. H.M. Ramachandra’s cinematography is excellent. Sham Kaushal’s action scenes are alright. Production design (by Muneesh Sappel) shows an eye for detailing. Aseem Sinha’s editing is reasonably sharp.

On the whole, Zed Plus is a political satire which is well-made and which has some truly fine performances but as far as its commercial prospects are concerned, they are almost nil because the film will find appreciation among a very thin minority, referred to as the high gentry audience in a handful of big cities only.


About komalreviews

Am a film trade analyst, hence my reviews are from the box-office point of view
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  1. Pingback: Zed Plus Review | Bollywoodb.com

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