For a movie that slots itself as comedy/drama, GALI GALI CHOR HAI leaves a sobering impact. In fact, it has you tottering out of the auditorium after having driven home its point with such finesse that it makes you wonder how Rumi Jaffery managed this Houdini act!
'Houdini act' because it's a subject so real and so close to home that it has never been addressed with such intelligence. True, there have been movies on politics and politicians and the corrupt system; but the way the 'system' is looked into in a holistic way, through the life of just one common man, is indeed an eye-opener. I'm sure, R K Laxman would be proud of this achievement. After decades, some other artist has managed to portray the 'Common Man' that really excites, incites and has you thinking. CHECK OUT: Mugdha- No bikini show in GALI GALI CHOR HAI
The story is simple. It could happen to you. Bharat (Akshaye Khanna) is a quintessential character, you would find in your neighbourhood. It could be you. He is married; works in a bank as a cashier and his only crime is that he refuses a room in his large house for a local politician to set up his temporary office during election time. The setting is in Madhya Pradesh. Bharat is part of a play where he longs to play Ram, but portrays Hanuman. The local politician's brother enacts Ram, thanks to his lineage, even though he is a bad actor. The genesis of Bharat's problem can be traced from here.
Before you know it, in front of your eyes, Bharat is implicated in a problem so trivial that it actually shocks you as to how he could be sucked into the vortex of the corrupt system so incredulously convincingly by a cop (Anu Kapoor, brilliant) who obviously has been let loose on the unsuspecting man.
It appears that the cops have caught a robber who has robbed a table fan from Bharat's home. Bharat is not aware of any such fan. But after a veiled threat from the cop he is convinced to go to the local police station where the game begins to retrieve his fan. How Rumi exploits the plot, weaving in the accompaniment that goes along with any case that lands in the small court is what frustrates you as a viewer. You feel for Bharat as he helplessly moves around not knowing what has hit him as he starts bribing his way through the system.
Then begins the quest to get rid of the 'unlucky' fan.
Akshaye is first rate in portraying the angst of someone who is perplexed as to the way the system functions. He transfers his anxiety to the viewer who is as helpless. That is the mark of a genius. Shriya Saran as his wife has a small but meaningful role. Murli Sharma who plays local MLA Manku Tripathi and the guy who plays his brother don't have much of a role. But just the minimum time they have on screen is enough to have a maximum impact. Who says you need several scenes and a meaty role to leave your mark as an actor?
The final scene and the dialogue by Bharat, 'Yeh system ke gaal pe tamacha hai' is what really has you reeling. He does get to play Ram after all, using all the strength of a Hanuman!
The Bomb Blast angle notwithstanding (not convincing, it could have been interwoven more smartly or could have been done away with), GALLI GALLI CHOR HAIN is indeed an eye-opener. Positioned cleverly around election time, it should encourage those who never leave their homes to exercise their franchise.
Don't mistake the name Bharat for the main protagonist. India can have many more Anna Hazares who can stand up against the system.
The five star rating is for the concept and the intelligent way it has been executed, without going over-the-top. It is also for the director's chutzpah. Methinks it should be made tax free.