A number of films portraying the common man's fight against corruption have been attempted in the past. But GALI GALI CHOR HAI arrives at the most opportune time. Corruption is fiercely debated and the most discussed issue today and the fight against corruption has already hit headlines, courtesy social activist and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare.
GALI GALI CHOR HAI throws light on corruption, dishonesty and bribery and also draws attention to the people who have betrayed the society and nation. It tells the story of a middle class family living in Bhopal and how an episode changes their lives. Their lives get entangled in a series of incidents and before they realize it, they become victims of corruption. In short, the movie deals with the corrupt bureaucratic system and sends across a clear message that one needs to fight the deceitfulness and fraudulence to eradicate corruption.
Though corruption is a much abused, oft-repeated and oft-depicted theme in Bollywood, what sets GALI GALI CHOR HAI apart is that it incorporates the recent incidents in the narrative. Though the situation depicted may differ, you cannot help but recount that somebody in your family/friends must've experienced a similar crisis at some point in life. It's relatable and the characters, identifiable. At the same time, though the issue depicted is dark and serious, director Rumy Jafry ensures that the focus remains on entertainment.
But what could've been a hard-hitting statement against corruption mellows after a point. This happens in the post-interval portions, when things begin to look impractical and ineffectual. More on that later!
Meet Bharat [Akshaye Khanna], the aam aadmi, part-time cashier and part-time Hanuman at Ramleela, residing in the city of Bhopal where he lives with his father [Satish Kaushik], who values freedom and hopes to see a corruption free administration in the country. Bharat is married to Nisha [Shriya Saran], a school teacher.
Bharat wants to graduate from his role as Hanuma to Lord Ram someday, which is being portrayed by Sattu Tripathi [Amit Mistry], younger brother of MLA Manku Tripathi [Murli Sharma]. Sattu, a bad actor, is always unhappy that Hanuman steals the show with his performance and Manku, the MLA, is unhappy over Bharat's refusal to let out his extra room to campaigning for his re-election. Adding to their woes is the fact that Bharat's father befriends the opposing candidate Mohanlal [Shashi Ranjan] and lets out the room to him for his campaign.
One night, Bharat's table fan gets stolen and how he is forced to bribe his way through criminals and law keepers, just to get this table fan back, forms the remainder of the film. An ordinary cashier hits headlines overnight.
GALI GALI CHOR HAI draws your attention towards the victimization of the common man, but the serious topic [corruption] is dealt with in a humorous way. In fact, the first hour is padded with several interesting episodes that bring a smile on your face. The writers bring to the fore the nexus between the cops and politicians and how the aam aadmi gets victimized for no fault of his. Concurrently, there's the husband-wife-other woman sub-plot as well, but, bluntly put, it looks like an aberration in the narrative.
While the first hour keeps you engrossed, the film gives away in the post-interval portions. The track of the two goons chasing Akshaye is bizarre and the manner in which the drama unfolds once the blast occurs is far from bona fide. The finale, when Akshaye registers a slap on the face of the wrong-doers, takes the graph to a high again, but the film could've done with a far more credible and convincing conclusion. It looks abrupt, a rushed job now!
After making entertainers such as GOD TUSSI GREAT HO and LIFE PARTNER, Rumy Jafry invests his efforts into make an entertaining film that carries a message. Also, Rumy makes a dig at the system, but, like I pointed out earlier, the writing could've been crisper in the subsequent half. There's not much scope for music in the film, yet the title track [filmed on Kailash Kher] and 'Channo' [filmed on Veena Malik] catch your eye. 'Channo' especially adds a dash of spice to the proceedings. The dialogue bring a smile on your face on several occasions.
Clearly one of the most versatile actors around, Akshaye delivers yet another fine, natural, unfussy performance. Come to think of it, playing an aam aadmi can be tough, but Akshaye gets into the skin of the character and gets it right. The two girls, Shriya Saran and Mugdha Godse, don't get much scope. Satish Kaushik excels, while Annu Kapoor is the scene stealer as the corrupt, scheming cop. Murli Sharma is stereotypical, Amit Mistry is wonderful, Vijay Raaz shines in a brief role, Rajat Rawail provides some laughs, Shashi Ranjan is confident and Akhilendra Mishra is just about okay.
On the whole, GALI GALI CHOR HAI amuses intermittently. Fortunately, the movie goes public at a juncture when anti-corruption appears to be the essence of the season. But the film could've done with a far more hard-hitting conclusion!