Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ranchi Diaries 

Soporific Caper

While the nepotism debate still rages in Bollywood, a bunch of young actors, some from Anupam Kher’s acting school are cast in a heist caper set in Jharkhand.

Because Ranchi Diaries, directed by first-timer Sattwik Mohanty is set in that town, the characters speak a Bihari/Bhojpuri  dialect, and there are signs like ‘WoldFamos Chomein’ around.  Needless to say, it’s overdone and tiresome.

There was a tiny germ of an idea there, about small town India aspiring to catch up with urban India, and may be, the rest of the world. Gudiya (Soundarya Sharma), who calls herself Ranchi’s Shakira (pronounced Sakira), wants to become a singer and “fashion queen.”  She bullies her safecracker boyfriend Manish (Himash Kohli) to accompany her out of the sleepy town.

Manish gets caught up with local louts led by Pinku (Taaha Shah), who have rubbed Ranchi don Thakur Bhaiya (Anupam Kher) the wrong way, and to avoid punishment, they have to shell out a large sum to the cop, Chaubey (Satish Shah).

Thakur, who has some shady dealings with Naxals, is also much-hated uncle of Inspector Lallan Singh (Jimmy Shergill) and not-so-silent admirer of Gudiya. So the various subplots lead to Gudiya and gang trying to rob a bank, and all the things that can possibly go wrong, when amateurs attempt a crime.
For a comedy, the film is painfully slow and tries so hard to be funny, that is misses the mark by a mile. Annoyingly, there is a constant voiceover, telling the audience what is going on, as if they couldn’t see for themselves.

There’s just one big laugh the very end, but that’s hardly worth sitting through the rest of the film. Kher (also one of the producers) and Shergill could do these parts in their sleep. The young actors are all bright-eyed and energetic, but would need a better film if they are to get ahead.


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