Not only does it add words like ‘ghanchakkar’ to our lexicon—a part of the process of the ‘Bollywoodisation’ of the Hindi language—but such a title also immediately lowers our expectation of the film’s intellectual content. The movie is nothing but a wild goose chase, four people running circles round each other.
Sanju (Emraan Hashmi) is a man who can crack open safes. He decides to do one last job before he retires. He has an expensive wife called Neetu (Vidya Balan), a buxom lady whose idea of the erotic is to look through fashion magazines for the most outlandish of clothes and wear them at bedtime. The expectation of instant arousal works for her. He has other things on his mind.
As it turns out, Sanju’s retirement plan goes smoothly and the bank robbery is successful. He is to keep the money until the heat is over, then split it with the two goons who have hired him for his expertise.
But then he has an accident, suffers temporary amnesia, and says he has no idea where the money is. So the two hoodlums park themselves in his home to make sure that they are around when the light comes on. That’s the movie. In a film with just four people, depth of character is essential. There has to be a psychological reality to the drama, not just bits of mise-en-scene like the movie’s play on outlandish clothes and badly-cooked food.
Roman Polanski’s Carnage, an internal drama, with just two couples in an apartment arguing, is an example of inner reality. But when characters in Ghanchakkar talk, all they do is quarrel in the crude street language of Mumbai.
The truth is that with the sheer tackiness of life in this city, a metropolis bereft of artistic or intellectual existence, you are just not going to get good conversation in a Mumbai-located film, no matter how hard you try.