Bank Chor (2017) Review!!

Synopsis – A comic-caper, that tells the story of 3 morons trying to rob a bank who pick the worst day possible when everything that can go wrong, goes wrong and how they’re inadvertently caught in the crossfire.

My Take – While we have no idea when the next installment of the Yash Raj Films produced Dhoom series will be out, Y-Films, a subsidiary of YRF, known more for their web series (Man’s World, Bang Baaja Baaraat, Love Shots, Ladies Room, Sex Chat with Pappu & Papa) than their films (Luv Ka The End, Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, Mere Dad Ki Maruti), have come out with their own low budget heist film & replacing the high octane action scenes with LOL moments, an elements clearly evident from the trailers. Originally set to star Indian stand-up comedian turned actor Kapil Sharma, this heist-gone-wrong is a shining example of when done right, even self-deprecating humor can be enjoyable. While most comedies like to take a dig at others, the makers of this film decided promote their film by taking a dig at themselves. Every new teaser or promotional material which released indicated that this film was set up as a mindless comedy, a genre which thankfully due to the growing evolution in tastes of the moviegoer have been on a depreciating line. However, this Bumpy directed film stands out from the flood of releases every week, mainly as the film not only succeeds in providing the promised goofy entertainment, it also manages to throw in some unexpected twists and turns! The best parts of this film are the witty dialogues and the cleverly written situations, while the film does falter on one or two occasions, it largely pulls off its conman setting with spunk and smart tongue-in-cheek writing. Purely to provide it a genre classification, this film is close in lines can be compared to movies like Now You See Me and Bluffmaster (also starring Riteish Deshmukh), yup, it’s just as outlandish as those films and just as entertaining too.

The story follows Champak Chandrakant Chiplunkar (Riteish Deshmukh), a proud ‘Marathi Manoos ‘and a believer of Vaastu, who decides to break into a bank in order to rob it with the help of his two Dilliwale lackeys, Genda (Vikram Thapa) and Gulab (Bhuvan Arora). They have all the resources they need such as face masks, guns, and gas cutters, but it appears that they forgot to bring the most useful thing and that’s common sense. Without that essential ingredient, their plans to rob the bank start to fail rapidly. Moreover, even as they try to salvage the situation somehow and make a quick exit, enters criminal-hating, tough-as-nails CBI officer Amjad Khan (Vivek Oberoi), who seems convinced that these three bumbling idiots are somehow connected to string of other robberies & an unsolved murder case. To create havoc inside the bank, Amjad announces on the media that the situation is under control as he is an undercover officer (Sahil Vaid) among the hostages. Meanwhile, Champak realizes that he doesn’t want to be a part of the situation anymore and contacts reporter Gayatri Ganguly (Rhea Chakraborty) to help him surrender, however, there’s a rude surprise waiting in store for them, when the real ‘Bank Chor’ surfaces. The film begins on a promising note. Acting like the dumb and the dumber and a very nice guy who follows Vaastu Shastra at every step, Champak, a monk in disguise who along with his two accomplices Gulab, who adorns the mask of an elephant, and Genda, who wears the mask of a horse, attempt to rob a bank. But what starts as a comedy soon turns into a nail-biting gripping thriller! Narrated in a non-linear manner, the writing is clever, but something strains itself in an attempt to sound or look intelligent. The credit for some of the unexpected twists in the tale completely goes to the writers Baljeet Singh Marwah and Ishita Moitra Udhwani. Sure, there are a few LOL moments in between but I would be very wrong if I label the movie as a comedy which it clearly is not, it is a gripping thriller in the garb of a comedy. Those who have seen the trailers would know what’s going to happen in the film at least for the first 30-40 minutes. The robbery commences, the characters are quickly introduced and as expected, a lot of madness erupts. The laughs however are not much, except at few places. But it’s engaging and entertaining and hence no complaints. It’s only during the intermission point that viewers are given a jolt and from here, the film goes into another zone. What seemed like a comic bank heist drama turns out to be much more than that. Again, the cinematic liberties are aplenty. Also, the whole thing is complicated and it takes a while to get a hang of things. But that in a way also works since viewers are constantly trying to guess what exactly is going on, thereby keeping them firmly gripped. Also, the twists and turns continue right till the end which is also praiseworthy. The best ongoing joke throughout the film is the constant feud between Champak and his aides Genda and Gulab who helm from Faridabad and Ghaziabad about the differences between the people of Mumbai & Delhi argument. The repartee and banter in these conversations is hilarious! Also, the one of the film better jokes come in the form of one of the hostages, played by rapper Baba Sehgal, who while playing himself replies in rhyming verses to everything. It’s disappointing to see him released from the situation quite early. The writing of the film stays solid for the most part. The loopholes come out once the twists start revealing themselves in the second half, but even then, the film manages to keep a light vein and it entertains with ease. The team of writers behind the film have to be given credit for successfully incorporating sundry everyday information like dual sim phones, mobile roaming charges, data connectivity issues etc. into the story, these moments are seamless and make the film engaging and funny. At the interval point, director Bumpy takes a serious and sinister turn, swapping comedy for melodrama, before attempting a final rug-pulling twist that, had it been revealed earlier, would have rendered the movie redundant. The first half that is a letdown, as you’ve seen most part of the pre-interval part of the film in the movie’s trailers and hence it becomes a tiresome watch.

The jokes get repetitive and the writing definitely could have been better. As the writers run out of the stock Delhi vs Mumbai jokes, they decide to add plot twists, but this ploy fails too as the film stretches credibility to the snapping point and we can’t help but run out of patience for the underwhelming denouement. In fact, by the interval point, you might find yourself feeling sorry for Riteish and Vivek, especially if you were expecting an out-and-out comedy then you might come under a rude shock in the second half. Agreed, and its ‘smart comedy’ setup, especially in the second half isn’t the most intelligent piece of creative writing. Even though the film and its narrative treatment feels like a Delhi Belly, it never quite becomes as detailed and sharp as it should be. But what the film excels at is creating a hilarious banter between its lead characters. Three guys deliver some excellent punchlines and quirky dialogue to entertain in a breezy two-hour film. Director Bumpy and his team of writers may not have done enough to please the classes, but their spunky little film has enough thrills and laughs to give the massy crowds value for money. There are no songs in the film which is a good idea since there isn’t scope for any track. Only the instrumental “Mela: The Bank Chor Theme” (by Shrikanth Sriram) makes it to the film and goes well with the narrative. Overall, the background score (also by Sriram along with Superbia) is exhilarating. Adil Afsar’s cinematography is simple while Aparna Raina’s sets are authentic and grand. Ishita Moitra Udhwani’s dialogues contribute to the laughter. It’s praiseworthy that the one-liners are devoid of below-the-belt jokes. Luckily, the bumps in the script don’t hold back the performers. Riteish Deshmukh is a natural at playing the Marathi guy so attached to his linguistic identity that he would make the Shiv Sena proud. Take, for instance, his motivational chant – the Himesh Reshammiya-inspired Ganpati Bappa Morya, Let’s Rock. Riteish raises laughs in the initial first hour but later, shows varied emotions and he does it very nicely. A lot would have expected that since he has done so many comic capers, Riteish would have sleepwalked into this role. But that’s not the case for sure and he’s bound to surprise you! Vivek Oberoi is pitifully underused, and does little other than menacingly twirl his moustache and assure people that he has a ‘plan.’ This film shows yet again why Vivek deserves to be seen more! Vikram Thapa is impressive in his Bollywood debut and evokes laughs as the Faridabad guy feeling like a fish out of water in Mumbai. Bhuvan Arora doesn’t disappoint either. Rhea Chakraborty looks gorgeous as usual but her role is inconsequential to explain unfortunately. Sahil Vaid, last seen as Varun Dhawan’s hilarious scene stealing sidekick in Badrinath Ki Dulhania, is the biggest surprise of the film! Here he has a crucial role to play and he’s bound to shock you with his performance! Watch out! Upendra Limaye is good as usual. On the whole, ‘Bank Chor’ is a comedy worth a watch, which despite its share of absurdities is a good blend of comedy and thriller.

Directed – Bumpy

Starring – Riteish Deshmukh, Vivek Oberoi, Rhea Chakraborty

Rated – PG

Run Time – 120 minutes

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