Runtime: 2 hr 41 mins
Director: Shree Narayan Singh
Writer: Vipul K. Rawal
Dialogues: Sidhdharth Singh & Garima Wahal
Music: Anu Malik & Rochak Kohli
Producer: Bhushan Kumar
Star Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Divyendu Sharma & Yami Gautam
Here’s the short version of this review (inspired from the half-drudgery that the movie in question will put you through): start watching Batti Gul Meter Chalu when you are 20 minutes shy of hitting the ‘Intermission’, and you will be served decently. BGMC is (supposedly) about fighting the common man’s battles against the hiked up electricity bills that make you run from pillar to post in vain. While that premise sounds relatable, the movie does a thorough job of putting you off track by starting off of some inconceivable tangent of small townery-backdropped-love triangle. BGMC goes on to do quite a few things along its topical ambitions and when you emerge out of the theatre, you will probably wonder about how it managed to do so much less than what it seemed to promise.
Naughty (Shraddha Kapoor), Tripathi (Divyendu Sharma of “liquid” fame), SK (Shahid Kapoor) are three friends who spend their time dilly-dallying around Tehri in Uttarakhand. When they are not dillying or dallying, SK as the barely-legal-and-ethical lawyer hoodwinks small businesses for some quick cash, Naughty stitches and designs clothes and half of her hair (watchers will smile!) and Tripathi is busy setting up a factory. Amidst seemingly endless shenanigans and shots of the beautiful town, Naughty decides to choose between the two suitors (apparently they are suitors because they hang out with Naughty and never express their feelings unless some other suitor starts suiting up) in… a particularly non-ingenious manner. And while this triangle keeps trying to find its centroid (allowable verbose, we hope), Tripathi’s now set up a factory is racking up ominously large bill stacks for electricity that it didn’t consume.
While the movie’s plot point deals with that last line, more than anything else, yet, it takes eons of your time and a couple of large popcorns to get to that point.
Screenplay and Direction
We are sure that something went wrong in the screenplay (by Vipul K Rawal and adapted by Siddharth and Garima) and in the overall execution. There are phone calls that don’t serve the story. There are laughs that come at a point when you are groaning in an exasperated tone, ‘Well I KNOW you guys are friends. What happens next?’ Scenes push and shove into one another and barely stay consistent, story-wise, until the legal stuff takes over. Maybe Shree Narayan Singh hoped that the small town cutesying will appear endearing enough to let go of these flaws? Whether you believe in this hypothesis or not, you will find the scenes moving a bit weirdly at more than the forgivable number of times.
Performances and Dialogue
Shahid Kapoor is brilliant. His eyes, his mannerisms, his body language ooze the flamboyance and the swindler-ishness that is needed for his character (though it seems overdone towards the end, thanks to limited character development and exploration). Divyendu Sharma is decent as usual. He makes the perfect contrasting character and is relatable, especially when he is sad and broken. Shraddha Kapoor is (finally) a relief and is very bearable (if not watchable) for most of her scenes. Yami Gautam serves little purpose, but she holds her own as well, in the little screen time that she gets.
The dialogue is probably well done. Probably because we are not versed with the language presented in the movie. The dialogue writers have fearlessly sported the local dialect of the place, right from the start, diluting it very slightly. You may find the dialogues a little difficult to process initially, but once you get the hang of it, you will be adding ‘thehra’ or ‘bal’ to your lines, every now and then.
The background score is sort of okay. It keeps things under control and let’s go when there are some catchy scenes or tear-fests. We would have liked it to be a little minimalistic in the courtroom scenes (where the drama alone should be enough to cook the tension soup), but then minimalism is not what BGMC is going for. The songs come and go in forgettable passes, except for ‘HarHarGange’ sung by Arijit Singh. Some of the other songs may sound good (or bearable) when you hear them on YouTube etc., but in the movie, they could jar you up a bit.
BGMC is a drama that has three or four or five things happening before all of them gravitate towards that one, hopefully, epic seen of ‘Insaaf’ disbursement. Legal proceedings’ accuracy, courtroom logic and topical consistency sit on the window, ready to bungie jump while Shahid Kapoor tries to charm his way out of almost anything. Barring for some decently done punching-up moments, the movie in reality doesn’t have a lot of offer. But doesn’t it have substance? Social issues, no? Yes, but that stuff is mired up in a love triangle, some Rajnikanth-style archery matches and some “gore-log” who swoon over Shahid. But doesn’t it have excellent acting? Yes, it does. But the characters are overused for their buffoonery and the actual meat takes forever to cook. Don’t get us wrong. The batti in battigul doesn’t get gul immediately. It does stay lit from sometime, amidst its flaws. But every once in a while (like when you see the personification of Vikas and Kalyan… a real cringe moment), the exit door just seems a tad bit more desirable.