BOTTOM LINE: An Awry, Indulgent Ode to the Bollywood Struggle
|Platform: Zee5||Genre: Comedy|
Skin and Swear: No Lovemaking Sequences, Contains Few Instances of Strong Language
What Is the Story About?
Ghoomketu is an ambitious, aspirant writer from Mahona in Uttar Pradesh, who spends many years in his town dreaming of a career in films, though his aunt, stepmother and father feel otherwise. Reluctantly, he’s married to Janki Devi in a frail hope that he would finally realise his responsibilities, though it does little to change him. One fine day, he leaves everything and lands in Mumbai to fulfil his Bollywood dream. Where would his struggles take him to? Will his stories make the cut in an industry where’s more supply than demand?
Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s attempt to give an identity and a soul to the protagonist’s character is immensely earnest – you feel sorry for him, like him for his flaws, resonate with his insecurities and laugh at his odd scripts. It’s hard to imagine if any other actor would have brought out the eccentricity in the part with such conviction. The supporting cast, featuring the likes of Ragini Khanna, Ila Arun and Raghubir Yadav, is fantastic. They are excellent in mirroring the quirks of many people you may spot across a small-town – they feel like real people who aren’t painfully sanitised or sugarcoated in Bollywood terms. Anurag Kashyap yet again proves he has a lot to offer as an actor – watch out for how wittily he brings his character’s lackadaisical attitude to life in the film. Brijendra Kala and Swanand Kirkire make their presence felt while they last. The many special appearances – of Amitabh Bachchan, Chitrangada Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Ranveer Singh – add authenticity to the setting
Director of Ghoomketu, Pushpendra Nath Misra has a charmingly cartoonish approach to filmmaking. He has an uncanny sense of humour while establishing each of his characters and their backstories. The filmmaker, despite having a flurry of characters you may lose track of, stages their traits and quirks innovatively through old-time film reels and sepia-tinted colour tones. It’s a way to suggest how much the protagonist is also obsessed with films, tropes and storytelling.
Sample a few of them – a loveable aunt is known for her loud burp in the house and asks the medicos in a hospital to move some distance away when she’s ready to burp, another man in the neighbourhood who spends most of his life laughing ends up becoming a laughing stock even in his death and there’s a cop who’s not solved a single case in over 15 years and cannot trace a lead who’s staying under the same roof as him. The characters in the life of the protagonist are unabashedly cinematic – it comprises a father who’s persistently frustrated about the career of his son, the aunt who loves him more than his evil-step mother, a relative who feels none in his family line is fit to be an actor.
The story of a struggling writer is an ode to filmmaking in more ways than one. It celebrates and takes a dig at cinematic clichés at once. Be it a stepmother being accused of ill-treating her stepson, the heroine showcasing her moves in a red-colour chiffon sari or the horrors caused by a ghost in a haunted house or a girl running away from her father to unite with the love of her life, the director gives an interesting twist to done-to-death templates in Bollywood through the central protagonist’s scripts. The sharp reactions to the many stories of the writer are equally captivating – like the passenger in a lorry or the boy who serves chai in an Irani café or the roadside stall owner who makes Bhelpuri.
The director doesn’t forget to discuss the element of destiny in making a career in Bollywood in humorous ways. The dig at media where the protagonist tries to earn a job at a newspaper called Gudgudi elicits a few laughs. These fascinating-little parts, however, fail to provide a larger picture of the story over the 100-minute duration. The choppy narrative struggles to make an emotional connect in its bid to pay a tribute to the many eccentricities and charms of Bollywood.
The sarcastic tonality in the character establishment, though interesting in places, becomes an overdose. The pitch of the narrative starts sounding like cacophony despite the sincerity in the storytelling. The hectic pace of the film is another recipe for trouble – the frequent narrative jumps from one character to the other are distracting and the continuity goes for a toss. Ghoomketu has its charms, though it needed a well-structured narrative for its oddities to cast a spell on the audiences.
Music and Other Departments?
In a film that celebrates many Bollywood clichés, it’s surprising that there’s not much focus on the lip-sync song-routine (given every popular Hindi film is structured like a musical). The writing, though well-intentioned, is all over the place and is too indulgent to make a definitive impact. The colour-tones of the film is however imaginative, suggesting how everyone in Bollywood has a story to tell in their own quirky ways. It shows that the filmmaker wanted the result to look busy and even slightly messy (to show exactly how Bollywood functions), but was the frenetic pace necessary?
Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s performance
The sequences that take a dig at Bollywood’s clichés
The colour-grading used for character establishment
Loses track because of its indulgence
The loud, sarcastic tone of the film
Did I Enjoy It?
Only in parts
Will You Recommend It?
Only if people have a lot of time to kill
Ghoomketu Zee5 Movie Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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