Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
The Indian Express ratings: **
Horny woman who doesnt bother hiding it plus dour man with a secret,has the potential to be a humdinger. Ghanchakkar sets up trying-to-go-straight safe-breaker Sanju,and his blowsy trying-to-be fashion-forward wife Neetu,and a couple of rogues,around a bank heist,and lets them loose. This could have been a hoot,but the execution lets down the premise,and the film remains one of those that could have been edgier and funnier.
It isnt that Emraan and Vidya,playing the married couple squabbling over minor things,are not given a few laugh-out-loud situations. Raj Kumar Gupta,whos done Aamir and No One Killed Jessica before this,gives Sanjay and Neetu a cracking opening,involving bad cooking,resigned eating,and spousal sulks. Post the dining,there is the bedding. And here,where very few Bollywood movies venture with any imagination,the director gifts us an occasional smile. Balan wears wicked red horns and fishtail tights with flourish: shes all bondage hot-and-ready,and Hashmi who usually gets to kiss and leave his lovelies,lets her make the first move.
Two shady fellows,Pandit (Sharma) and Idris (Das),enter their placid lives,enticing Sanju to get back to his tools and a bank vault stuffed with a great deal of cash. The booty,stashed in a suitcase,disappears.
The rest of the film has these four characters searching for it,shooting suspicious glances at each other,being stymied by dead ends.
This is where the film could have quickened,but it slackens instead,leaving Balan to provide a chuckle or two in her hatti katti Punjaban avatar,her accent slipping more than her deeply cut negligees. But the film doesnt make of its characters quirks as much as it could have.
The Sharma-Das duo has some moments,but is essentially flat. Pretty much like a running gag that starts out funny and ends up as an eye-glaze. And that leads me to a question: are four characters too few (there are a couple of others who show up for a scene or two,but it is with the foursome that all the action rests) for a two hour film? Like some spouses who need additional spice to keep interest from flagging,the unexpected appearance of an extra character perks up the film,and gives us a near-rousing end. Nice wrap,making you wish the rest of the film was as sharp.