Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Screenwriters: Raj Kumar Gupta and Parveez Sheikh
Runtime: 136 mins.
Australian release date: 27 June 2013
Well-known stars Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan are the leads in Raj Kumar Gupta’s crime caper Ghanchakkar (Crazy). And crazy it certainly is. Sanjay (Hashmi) and Neetu (Balan) are husband and wife, he an expert safe-cracker, she a fashion-conscious housewife, living in contented semi-retirement in Mumbai when Sanjay is asked to take part in a heist that will set him up for life. Job done, the thieves agree to lay low for three months, during which time Sanjay will hide the money “where nobody will think of looking for it,” but during the waiting period he has an accident that results in partial amnesia. So, of course, when his partners-in-crime, Pandit (Rajesh Sharma) and Idris (Namit Das) come to collect, not only can he not remember where the loot is stashed but neither can he remember them! From this point on, continuously threatened by the other two and increasingly unsure of who he can trust, Sanjay struggles to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
It’s a great premise, with some similarities to Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, but regrettably director Gupta doesn’t seem quite sure how to handle it - as a straight out comedy, a who-done-it, or a drama? This lack of certainty is unsettling, particularly when the film takes a nasty turn in its denouement. The performances from the two leads are very good, particularly Hashmi as the increasingly forgetful husband; somehow he manages to sow a little doubt into his character, so we’re unsure if his amnesia is for real or not. Likewise Balan, whose whacky Neetu seems to know more than she is letting on… or does she?
Amit Trivedi’s score is very current, with lots of electronic instrumentation that fits the on-screen action, and Mumbai looks good through Satyajit Pande’s lens, often at night. Ghanchakkar is not one of Gupta’s best but, none the less, there’s fun to be had if you’re prepared to put up with some lesser moments too.
Ghanchakkar is a Hindi word which literally means something that spins fast (ghan = dense, heavy, chakkar = to spin), however, the most common meaning of ghanchakkar is a person with a very fickle mind. To put it simply, a crazy, mad person.