Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Raghuvir Yadav, Ila ArunDirector: Pushpendra Nath Mishra
Bollywood or the Hindi film influence on the Hindi heartland is something that has been celebrated and recreated variously in our movies. Anurag Kashyap’s Murabba paid homage to the hero-worship that fans indulge in while Fan portrayed the dark side of a fan’s obsession with his matinee idol. Luck By Chance captured the rise of a young wannashine actor and the more recent Kaamyaab put the spotlight on the life of character actors of Hindi films.
Ghoomketu, director Pushpendra Nath Misra’s slice-of-life film about the ‘strugglers’ of the film industry with stars in their eyes falls in the same category as Kaamyaab. Indeed if one were to get even a single paisa for every hopeful who comes to Mumbai to try his luck in the Hindi film industry, a fortune would be amassed. In a majority of cases, this naive idea of finding a place in showbusiness regardless of one’s competence is a strange optimism bordering on delusion. But then, what to one person may seem a pointless journey is another man’s odyssey –for survival, for greater glory or merely for a shot at an impossible dream. And this very premise forms the basis of Ghoomketu’s (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) leap of faith when he runs away from his village life in Mahona to try for a film writer’s job in Mumbai. The fact that he has no expertise or experience in the said field does not prevent him from trying his luck. He goes through the paces of the renowned “struggle” –cutting chai at an Irani café, living in a chawl, hanging around on sets, and getting the part of an extra in small productions—before the futility of his struggle dawns on him. But there is an ironic twist in the tale, which makes Ghoomketu’s journey worthwhile.
Back home, Ghoomketu’s family comprises of his father (Raghuvir Yadav), a stepmother, his Bua (Ila Arun), an uncle (Swanand Kirkire) and his recently wedded wife (Raagini Khanna) who eagerly await his return. It is only during his Mumbai adventure when Ghoomketu is far away from them that he realizes that they complete the rhythm of his life. Dialogues in the film are pithy and compensate well for a screenplay that is unfortunately elementary at best. Nawazuddin Siddiqui despite a somewhat underwhelming lead role successfully pulls off the arduous task of making it endearing. Raghuvir Yadav, is competent and plays the bucolic patriarch with trademark ingenuity, but Ila Arun as the Bua (aunt) steals the show from everyone with a performance that infuses the much-needed hilarity and drama into the proceedings. Bollywood ‘star presence’ in the film is underscored by a bevy of actors appearing as themselves – Chitrangada Singh, Ranveer Singh, and Sonakshi Sinha. But, the cherry on the cake really is Amitabh Bachchan’s cameo, which elevates the entertainment quotient to the desired level.
In present times, as we see armies of migrant laborers from the Hindi hinterland march back home with nothing but the debris of their shattered dreams and hopes, Ghoomketu assumes an unforeseen and very timely relevance. Inadvertently perhaps it offers a little peek into why the call of “apna gaon” remains strong for those who have come so far away from home and hearth in search of a livelihood. As in the case of Ghoomketu, our protagonist, when his dreams lie shattered and scattered, the tug of home and family members becomes impossible to ignore.
Of course, this one is not really a film on serious matters. Ghoomketu’s comedic juxtaposition of family idiosyncrasies and filmi adventures in a deeply personal story makes it immensely watchable despite its flaws.
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