Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and half stars)
Star Cast: Anupam Kher, Neha Dhupia, Divyendu Sharma, Manu Rishi Chadha, Aditi Sharma, Rajesh Sharma, Uttara Baokar, Supriya Kumari, Bhagwan Tiwari, Sudhir Pandey, Aasif Sheikh, Anurag Arora
Director: Ravindra Gautam
What’s Good: For starters, Anupam Kher was top notch. A well intentioned theme tackled consistently for most part works.
What’s Bad: The humor drops in many parts. There is a lot of melodrama and mostly the plot wavers at many places.
Loo break: I did not spend much time in the loo.
Watch or Not?: Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami is not brilliant but somehow it wasn’t too bad either. It is semi watchable and despite its preachy tone, it survives your attention for being essentially noble at heart. I went with far too low expectations and hence probably came out to be a pleasant surprise. If you’re a movie buff who watches every film, this one wouldn’t be too much of a time waste.
Joshi Bhau is a respectable BMC employee, bestowed with two worthless sons. While he is an epitome of honesty and integrity, they are the exact opposites: one a corrupt officer and another a party worker. Joshi Bhau has planned his retirement for a long time but on the last day of his work he gets suspended and is humiliated to the core for theft and dishonesty with his department. With his pension and provident funds stuck, his sons care more about being homeless oblivious to their father’s angst and pain. He dies and his dying wish is 21 guns salute.
Will his worthless succeed in fulfilling his dying wish?
Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami Review: Script Analysis
Quite on the lines of the classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, this one is a modern day take which maintains its individuality despite being built around the same premise. In the last decade, there were a multiple films that has tried to ape the classic and of the ones I have watched, this one takes the idea of the cult film forward giving it a distinct, refreshing and yet an appealing flavor. There is humor, satire, a lot of preaching (believe me when I say that), too much melodrama, but works despite its flaws.
A jamadaar at municipal corporation is an honest man, who has two worthless sons to his credit. One a corrupt government official and the other a party worker close to the Chief Minister of the state. Clashes and disagreements happen but when doom falls on the honest man on the last day of work, he is suspended and every retirement perk he is stripped off of. It hurts him so much that he succumbs with his dying wish that he wants a 21 gun salute for himself.
The idea in itself was interesting but there were a few lame moments as well. After his death, the sons find a diary of his father where he has jotted down ‘oh how honest he was and never got his due’ moments. The scene was a heart changing one for the sons and a very funny one for me. Lesson learnt: Melodrama has no logic to it and can be pretty humorous at times.
And finally after the mission – 21 guns salute is executed, one cannot help but wonder how is it a common man’s victory. After his pyres cool down, won’t the world get back to its corrupt mores and untrue ways? And was it actually a common man’s victory because for the world it was the CM’s pyre and not the common man’s. Did I mind all of this? I did but not enough to loathe the film. I appreciated the coherent storytelling and the simplicity of the plot and though there were inconsistencies, I can prefer to overlook it for the noble intention of the plot.
Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami Review: Star Performances
Anupam Kher was the best bit about the film. He was right in every frame and does so with immense conviction. Ridiculed by his sons, he is that valiant figure who strives and fights alone. His simple and powerful performance makes the first half crisp and strong. There are very few actors who can bring such intensity to a role and Kher was an apt casting.
Manu Rishi was good as a corrupt government official. Underplaying his role with subtlety, he was placed in contrast with Divyendu who was a loud mouth all through.
Divyendu plays the character with his usual loudness and though at times you feel he has gone overboard with his acting, he hits all the right notes with his performance.
Aditi Sharma plays the girl next door with innocence and charm. She is cutesy, pleasing and very sweet in her performance.
Neha Dhupia was wasted in the film that ideally should have given her more screen space.
And finally, Rajesh Sharma was his usual best in a role that was tailor made for him. He is great in the few scenes he gets and he is pretty much of a show stealer when in frame.
Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Ravindra Gautam has made a thought provoking film. And while there are a thousand mistakes you can point out about the execution, you cannot challenge the film’s intention. Ravindra might not have great experience of filmmaking and his amateur work has a nascent soul to it. He has used satire well. In a scene where a media guy asks audiences to SMS what’s better nickname – Babu or Sonu, you laugh but the reality of the bureaucratic set up of media plays in your head. The film might function on a checklist and tries to hit all the points, it loses steam in the second half till the final scene. But the state of common man is laid bare for people to see and that is the ground reality of the world we function in.
Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami Review: The Last Word
Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami is not a work of genius but is earnest at what it does. Anupam Kher’s performance shines and though the plot has its peaks and lows, the story’s soul wins eventually. You can give it a try because it isn’t cinematic beat but definitely a story that should be. Discrepancies and logic lapses aside, you won’t exactly hate the film. I am going with 2.5/5.
Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami Trailer
Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami releases on 10th October, 2014.
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