Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai

Gali Gali Chor Hai

Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Satish Kaushik, Shriya Saran, Mughda Godse, Annu Kapoor

Director: Rumi Jaffry

Indian Express rating: *1/2 

Straight-forward, middle-class fellow up against the big, bad system. `Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai' pours old wine into a cracked bottle, telling us everything we've always known even if we were afraid to ask. Corruption is all pervasive. Public servants—cops, lawyers, netas-- do what they know best : extort, harass, intimidate. `Ek thaali, sab chatte batte'. Sigh.

Bharat ( Khanna) lives with his retired father ( Kaushik), an always-painted school-teacher wife ( Saran) and a curvy paying-guest ( Godse) in his ancestral home. By day, he is a humble bank cashier. By night, he paints his cheeks red, adds on a tail, and becomes Hanuman in the local Ramlila. By riling a budding politico, he becomes the victim of a system that knows how to squeeze the little men till they capitulate.

The film takes its thrust very seriously indeed, so for 99 per cent of its tedious duration, Bharat and co suffer at the hands of a `danda'-wielding hawaldaar ( Kapoor)  and his cohorts. A missing table-fan triggers the mass attack on the Common Man, in the shape of the hapless Bharat, and the tale plods along, as one `chor' after another shows up, saying the same thing, doing the same thing. Except one. Brand New Item girl Veena Malik's shimmy-and-shake is a proper doozy. As far as I'm concerned, Ms Malik can get my ayes any time.

This could have been a film with bite to it, given that we are all so exercised these days with corruption and its high-profile fighters and shameless purveyors. But satire is not Bollywood's thing. When the need of the hour is to underplay, everyone opens their mouth out loud, and yells. The only relatively new thing is the setting : we get glimpses of Bhopal and its scenic points, as we wait for the long-pending slaps on the face of the system. By which time, let me tell you, I was ready to join in the slap-fest.

... contd.

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