Ghoomketu (2020) Review!!

Synopsis – An aspiring writer from a small town in U.P. runs away to Mumbai. He gives himself 30 days to try and prove his worth.

My Take – It is a known fact that thousands come to Mumbai every day, hoping to catch a break and achieve their star filled dreams to make it big in Hindi film industry, a process which of course isn’t a cakewalk and takes a lot of time, determination and skill (along with a bit of luck) to stand out from the crowd.

An affair which of course must be very relatable to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who entered the industry in the 90s (with bit roles in 1999’s Sarfarosh and Shool), and finally made in big with 2012’s Gangs of Wasseypur duology, pushing him to leading man status despite his unconventional leading man physical appearance.

Hence it seemed like a delightful idea to seem him essay the role of a 31-year-old aspiring Bollywood writer who flees his village to realize his dream in Mumbai (even though the plot has been seen n number of times since the 70s). While a finished draft saw itself being languished and unreleased since 2014, amidst the cinema lock down, it has finally premiered on the streaming platform Zee5, with a promise to provide a good time.

Though created as a spoof on the aspiring writers of the industry, the film just falls flat exceptionally, making it a very poorly made film with a few truly endearing moments. Though director Pushpendra Nath Misra has moved on to better things, like helming the Netflix series ‘Taj Mahal 1989’, it is shame to see how he has wasted the extensive ensemble cast and a bevy of star cameos n this outdated, tiring and utterly pointless film which seems to be never convinced about what kind genre it wants to fit into.

Yes, the trailer seems no doubt impressive, yet I was left utterly disappointed, with the weakest link being its haphazard screenplay therefore leaving its stellar cast just dry.

The story follows Ghoomketu (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a 31-year-old aspiring writer who lives in a small village called Mohana in UP. With no relevant writing experience to speak off, other than having written a few wedding invitation cards and on the backs of trucks until now, he has been finding it difficult to land a job at any medium. Making matters worse, his father (Raghuvir Yadav) believes he is a day dreamer and gets him married to a paunchy Janaki Devi (Ragini Khanna), hoping he would take up responsibility and instead help him run his grocery shop.

But convinced that he is destined to write a Bollywood film which would probably one day star Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan, with help of his aunt Santo (Ila Arun), makes a run for it to the city of Mumbai. Carrying enough to last a month, Ghoomketu rents out a flat, and uses a special guide book, ‘How to be a Bollywood writer in 30 days’ written by Editor Joshi (Brijendra Kala) of the local magazine called Gudgudi, to fulfill his screenwriting dreams, giving himself a window of 30 days to try and prove his worth.

Back at home, worried sick his family uses the connections of his politician uncle (Swanand Kirkire) to get a missing case assigned to the Mumbai Police Force. As luck would have it, the case is assigned to Inspector Badlani (Anurag Kashyap), a bumbling fool who hasn’t solved a case in 15 years of service and doesn’t even think to investigate the person who has just rented the room next to his own flat. But with given the ultimatum to find Ghoomketu in the chaotic Mumbai within a month to avoid suspension, he is determined to do so. Thus beginning a countdown.

Though the film has an interesting premise, it is evidently six years too late and the patchy screenplay and editing shows. One can see that the makers have hurriedly put together the film for its digital release, with several scenes being disconnected from each other. While it might have seemed well-intended on paper, as it tries to parody the film industry and its stereotypical ways but over the course of the film, it just falls prey to the same stereotypes. With a non-linear narrative and Ghoomketu often breaking the fourth wall, director Pushpendra Nath Misra perhaps attempted to have the complete attention of the viewer.

But with an incoherent script, and jokes that fall flat- a lot of the scenes fail to rise above mediocrity and at its 100 minutes run time too seems a bit stretched and unfunny. Even the smarter ideas suffer from a lack of conviction. One of Ghoomketu’s stories is rendered in the style of a black and white silent film, with exaggerated acting, but is completely ruined by an unnecessary voice-over.

One of the most offensive tracks in the film is about Ghoomketu’s wife Janaki, who he body shames her for being fat, refuses to even see her face and treats her shabbily. When he comes back after his Bollywood rendezvous and sees that she still covers her face but has a visibly lithe frame, it’s only then that he asks her to show him her face and that’s when we get to see actress Ragini Khanna. The crass body shaming and the absurd relationship between the couple hardly add value to the film.

Sure, the film does have some fun moments, especially the ones featuring Santo Bua who knows where her nephew has gone, but keeps his secret, and all the fantasy sequences depicting Ghoomketu’s failed attempts at script writing along with the ridiculously hammy film titles and scripts do liven up the proceedings, as do some of the animation sequences, but it seems as though they have been brought in to cover up for the weak script. And after a point it all just gets tiresome especially, when it becomes clear it has nothing much to say.

The performance are obviously the only saving grace is here, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui putting forth yet another moving performance. Anurag Kashyap impresses with understated humor, while Swanand Kirkire has its moments and the ever-dependable Raghubir Yadav would have been more effective if he did not give in to the tendency to ham. However, it is Ila Arun who steals the show with a fabulous portrayal.

Ragini Khanna, Brijendra Kala, Deepika Amin and the late actor Razak Khan also make an appearance in a couple of scenes. However, the cameos by Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Chitrangda Singh, Lauren Gottlieb and director Nikhil Advani are likable. On the whole, ‘Ghoomketu’ is a total lackluster and bland affair which wastes its talented cast.

Directed – Pushpendra Nath Misra

Starring – Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ragini Khanna, Anurag Kashyap

Rated – NR

Run Time – 100 minutes

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