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Ghoomketu review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui brings the laughs, but can’t save the film from itself

Release Date: 22 May 2020

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Sonal Pandya

Directed by Pushpendra Nath Misra, the comedy has a motley crew of interesting characters, but isn’t quite sure what to do with them.

Like many others before him, Ghoomketu (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) comes to Mumbai to make it big as a screenwriter for the film industry. After a short sojourn, he decides the city that never sleeps is not for him, but in the end, ends up gaining fame in one way or another.

Stuck in the village of Mahona in Uttar Pradesh, Ghoomketu longs for some excitement. He is saddled with an unwanted bride, Janki Devi (Ragini Khanna), in a mass wedding and is keen to try publish his stories in the local newspaper, Gudgudi. However, the chief editor, Professor Ramanath Joshi (Brijendra Kala) hands him a screenwriting manual penned by him and urges him to try his luck in ‘Bambai’.

With that encouragement, Ghoomketu runs away to Mumbai, much to the displeasure of his father (Raghuvir Yadav), uncle (Swanand Kirkire) and the delight of his doting aunt (Ila Arun). Mumbai is not what he expected. He struggles to write a story and tries his hand at everything, from romance to horror.

Meanwhile, back in Mahona, Ghoomketu’s uncle, Guddan uses the influence of his political party to ask the Mumbai police to track the missing man and bring him back. The assignment falls to Inspector Badlani (Anurag Kashyap), who has not solved any case in the last 15 years. 

Badlani and Ghoomketu’s paths keep intertwining but never fully meeting as they continue on their quests. Ghoomketu is happy to live the life of a struggler, writing down stories in cafes and taking them across to filmmakers in a bid to see them on the big screen. He learns the hard way the true meaning of struggle.

Pushpendra Nath Misra’s long-delayed film was completed back in 2014, and despite the celebrity cameos by Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Chitrangda Singh and Nikkhil Advani, the rust shows in the comedy.

As a character, Ghoomketu is incredibly filmi and the film features some fantastical interludes of writing come alive in some sequences. Back home, the 31-year-old with a Master’s in Hindi literature is reduced to writing lines for tempo trucks and wedding cards. With a contentious relationship with his ill-tempered father, he sets out to Mumbai to prove himself.

Siddiqui completely commits himself to the good-natured character, but it isn’t enough to take the story forward. Misra has some truly comic moments for his lead. At one point, Ghoomketu dresses up an alien villain in a sci-fi film, but eventually these scenes just fall flat with no real tension keeping them afloat.

The film has a large list of characters, a few who are used wisely (especially Kala’s Joshi, who hilariously demonstrates film genres from his manual) and many that aren’t. Inspector Badlani feels like an afterthought. Kashyap does his best with what little he has, but can’t do much with his character.

Ghoomketu confusingly switches back and forth between past and present to narrate Siddiqui’s journey, but it is when the lead character’s imagination runs wild that it is the strongest. His wry observations about the people he encounters in his life are spot on.

With his innocent worldview, we know that Ghoomketu is a misfit in Mumbai. Once he realises it as well, there’s no saving this once-promising comedy.

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