Business rating: 1 / 5 stars (1 star)
Star cast: Akshaye Khanna, Shriya Saran, Mugdha Godse, Satish Kaushik, Annu Kapoor, Murali Sharma, Vijay Raaz, Amit Mistry.
What’s Good: A few satirical scenes; the entertaining dialogues; the acting.
What’s Bad: The small-town feel of the film; the lack of real entertainment for the city audience of today; the over-stretching of the drama; the lack of a proper climax.
Verdict: Gali Gali Chor Hai will not get the appreciation of the audience. Given its poor start, it cannot hope to pick up, due to lack of positive word of mouth.
Loo break: Not really.
Watch or Not?: Watch it if you want to see a well-intentioned film which also boasts of good performances.
One Up Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Gali Gali Chor Hai (UA) is about the problem of corruption in India and how the common man’s life is affected because of this menace. Bharat (Akshaye Khanna) lives in Bhopal with his wife, Nisha (Shriya Saran), and father, Shivnarayan (Satish Kaushik). Bharat, a straightforward and principled guy, works as a cashier in a bank and also doubles up as Hanuman in the local Ram Leela stage-play because he loves acting. Playing Lord Ram in the play is Tripathi (Amit Mistry) whose elder brother, Manku Tripathi (Murali Sharma), is the local MLA. One day, Tripathi comes to Bharat’s home, asking for a room in his house to be allowed to be used as the election office in the area for his MLA-brother because elections are just around the corner. Since Bharat’s wife is not in favour, he refuses to let Tripathi use the room. Bharat has a paying guest in Amita (Mugdha Godse).
Feeling slighted, Manku Tripathi and his younger brother seek revenge. They tell police officer Parshuram Kushwaha (Annu Kapoor) to teach Bharat the lesson of a lifetime. Kushwaha involves Bharat in a robbery case by convincing him and his father about a table fan having been stolen from their house. He says, the thief, Chunnu Farishta (Vijay Raaz), had been arrested and had confessed to the crime. He asks Bharat to come to the police station the next day so that he could take him to court to have the table fan restored to him. Although no table fan has been stolen from their house, Shivnarayan and Bharat realise, it would be better to follow Kushwaha’s instructions because he threatens them with dire consequences if they do not obey him. Bharat and his father are unaware till quite late in the day that this entire drama had been scripted by the Tripathi brothers to seek revenge.
From here begins Bharat’s nightmare as he keeps bribing the policeman, thief, lawyer etc. to get the table fan which, in the first place, never belonged to him. He spends Rs. 31,000 to finally get the fan.
Bharat’s tale of woes doesn’t end there. He tries to discard the fan because his father feels, it is unlucky. But the corrupt system won’t even let him do that. As one thing leads to another, Bharat is imprisoned for alleged terrorist activity.
What happens thereafter? Is Bharat able to prove his innocence? Does he fight the corrupt system or does he simply forget his tryst with corruption like a bad dream?
Gali Gali Chor Hai Review: Script Analysis
Mumukshu Mudgal’s story may be topical because the fight against corruption in India has gained momentum in the last one year, but the incidents he has chosen to highlight the menace are so small and often so farcical that the drama seems fit for a television serial rather than a film. No doubt, the story is about the common man in free India but in an age when every youngster aspires to be a Dhirubhai Ambani, it is doubtful that many would care to spare a thought for Bharat and his embroilment in a corrupt society. And even if they did, the incidents would not give them reason enough to feel motivated – even momentarily – to raise their voice against corruption, so necessary for such a film to succeed. In other words, Bharat’s problems are not inspirational enough. Probably, the worst part of the story is that it keeps talking about corruption and keeps stretching the drama with similar incidents but hardly addresses the problem. In effect, the solution, if it can at all be called so, comes through in the last five or seven minutes of the film. By that time, the audience has already gotten bored of the never-ending tale of travails of Bharat. In fact, the more impatient among the audience will simply not approve of Bharat’s lack of heroism for so long!
Mumukshu Mudgal and Rumi Jafri’s screenplay is also more suited for a TV serial. Simply by basing the story in a medium-sized town like Bhopal, the writers have not been able to convince the viewer of the suitability of the subject for a film. Also, the meandering screenplay about a few thousand rupees blown away in the name of corruption affords little entertainment for the youth which is exposed to scams of hundreds and thousands of crores of rupees! As is well-known, the youth comprises a good chunk of the audience today. Furthermore, the small-town feel of the film would further wean away the city-bred audience from the cinemas. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the major share for the distributors comes from the big cities. It is for these reasons that in spite of some scenes being entertaining for their satirical value and notwithstanding the fact that Mumukshu Mudgal and Rumi Jafri’s dialogues are very enjoyable, the drama fails to have the desired impact for the majority of the audience. The audience in the interiors may identify with the predicament of Bharat and his family but it is certain that the big cities will simply not care for the drama.
Climax is so short that it hardly serves to exhilarate the audience. In fact, the entire film looks like a build-up to a problem waiting to be tackled and then, the tackling part, which ought to have been of at least an hour’s duration, gets over in merely a few minutes.
Gali Gali Chor Hai Review: Star Performances
Akshaye Khanna portrays Bharat effectively and conveys the helplessness and frustrations of a common man in a corrupt country very beautifully. Shriya Saran gets little scope to perform. She is good. Mugdha Godse is more ornamental than anything else. Satish Kaushik lives the role of Bharat’s father and shines. Annu Kapoor also delivers a first-rate performance as a police officer who eats, drinks, breathes and sleeps corruption. Vijay Raaz has his moments of entertaining the audience. Murali Sharma is effective. Amit Mistry leaves a lovely mark. Akhilendra Mishra stands out. Rajat Rawail is quite good as Bachchu Gulkand. Shashi Ranjan (as Mohanlal), Arun Verma, Mushtaq Khan (as constable) and Jagdeep (as policeman Munshi) provide fair support. Javed and Dilip Kabra are natural to the core as the goons. Veena Malik sizzles in the Chhanno song-dance number.
Gali Gali Chor Hai Review: Direction & Music
Rumi Jafri’s direction, limited as it is by the script, is just about fair. Not just the script but the narrative style also would appeal to the audience in small centres and not to the city folk. Anu Malik’s music is quite alright. The Chhanno song, written by Swanand Kirkire, is mass-appealing whereas the title track is quite inspirational, more so for its lyrical value (Rahat Indori). Song picturisations (by Ahmed Khan) are functional, the ‘Chhanno’ number being the only one which stands out. Kailash Kher appears in the title song. Gururaj Jois’ camerawork is mediocre. The choreography of action scenes by Bhiku Verma is okay. A. Muthu’s editing is alright.
Gali Gali Chor Hai Review: Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, Gali Gali Chor Hai may be topical and well-intentioned but that’s just not enough. It lacks the entertainment for today’s audience and will, therefore, go largely unnoticed except, perhaps, in smaller centres.