Batti Gul Meter Chalu review: “Whole movie was gul!!!”
It was one of the most exciting weekends in recent times courtesy of the high-profile matches which were on offer. This included Tiger Wood’s 80th PGA tour title, Team India’s emphatic win over the Paks & Federer led Team Europe’s successful defense of the Laver Cup. There were a couple of movies as well that I got to check out apart from the games & one of them happened to be Shree Narayan’s “Batti Gul Meter Chalu”. Since his previous putting was Akki’s “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”, I was particularly interested to watch it after all this also seemed to be rooted in reality.
SK (Shahid Kapoor), Nauti (Shraddha Kapoor) & Tripathi (Divyendu Sharma) were childhood friends who stuck to each other through thick & thin. Among the three, SK was a sly lawyer who was always on the lookout for some quick bucks which he acquired through the blackmail of potential law offenders. Nauti was a fashion designer while Tripathi who was the meekest among the three ventured into business & opened a small-scale printing company. However, with constant power shortages in the region; it wasn’t easy to meet the demands of the customers & to make it worse, the electricity board also slapped him with outrageous bills for illogical reasons. Hoping to resolve the matter, he took it up with the ombudsman but to no avail. In the meantime, the friendship between the trio also crumbled due to the affair between Nauti & Tripathi which SK found it difficult to accept. Even though Tripathi turned towards SK for his legal support, the latter’s frosty behavior kinda made it evident that he wasn’t keen to help him out. So how was Tripathi going to get out of this mess before he loses his entire livelihood???
With a host of praise worthy movies to his credit, Shree Narayan has earned himself a respectable name as an editor & hopes to achieve the same as a director as well. This happens to be his third venture & just like “TEPK”, he has opted for a social issue like the lack of electricity & the cut-throat attitude of the electricity boards. He takes a considerable amount of time to set the stage & by the time, he does come to the core issue it doesn’t hit you as forcefully as one would expect. Apart from a couple of scattered chuckles, the court scenes don’t make us sit up & take notice, the blame for which also lies on Vipul Rawal’s rather average script which had the potential but fizzes out with barely a whimper. None of the technical aspects quite caught my eyes & hence doesn’t deserve a mention.
Despite the rather uninspiring making, I felt all the three main artists has done a reasonably good job with Shahid being the pick among the lot. He has given an earnest performance with his humour & energy while quite a few like Sudhir Pandey, Farida Jalal & Sushmita Mukherjee who are proven artists are wasted.
Verdict: With not much of a competition, the producers would have hoped that the movie will recreate the magic of “TEPK”. But with a rather uninspiring & bland script, it failed to impress the audience. In short, a rude shock to Shree who would have hoped that the people would back him after his previous praise worthy outing!!!
The melodramatic depiction weakens the theme
Batti Gul Meter Chalu, a film by Narayan Singh, is the story of inflated electricity bills and corruption in the system. The film certainly has a very relevant message to convey but the melodrama dominates. The melodramatic depictions as well as the running time of almost 3 hours make the film weak, but one can not ignore the issue raised in the film. Love triangle between the three lead protagonists of the film in the context of the issue raised is not too strong to hold the audience engaged. The film does convey that corrupt energy suppliers don’t allow small scale industries to prosper since most of the time these businesses are plagues with load shedding and power cuts but still getting inflated electricity bills.
The premise of the story is that a young entrepreneur Sundar (Divyendu Sharma) who starts a packaging company, gets mentally tortured with the inflated electricity bills. His childhood friend Sushil Kumar Pant aka SK (Shahid Kapoor), who does not generally have any ethical stand as far as his profession is concerned, acts as per his conscience and fights the court battle against the mighty Power Company. Shraddha who plays the role of their friend cum designer Lalita ‘Nauti’ Nautiyal joins SK in his fight against the corrupt system. The film does show that when the whole set of consumers join hand together even the mightiest corporation can become weak and end up yielding to the justice.
Set in Tehri in Uttarakhand, the film begins with two of the travellers in Bus – Vikas and Kalyan unraveling the story of three friends SK, Sundar and Lalita. The names Vikas and Kalyan are purposefully chosen to take a dig at the development and welfare activities of our country. Certain dialogues do project that how development and welfare activities are just on papers whereas not happening in reality in the afflicted areas. Sk is an advocate who makes money with out of court settlements. Sundar dreams of making it big through his entrepreneurial venture. And Lalita is a designer who thinks of herself as one of the best and superior designer. The first half of the film builds up the plot of how the friendship between the three gets converted into a love triangle. The second half is spent mostly in the court scenes where SK confronts with the defense lawyer Gulnaar (Yami Gautam).
The division in genres into the two halves, sheer horseplay in and outside of the court, and zero proximity to realism are what makes Batti Gul Meter Chalu a coarse, dull film. Much like the issue that it addresses, a lot many parts in the film are akin to darkness, which is not ideal in a world of flashing lights. TN.