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Soporific Caper

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ranchi Diaries
Sattwik Mohanty
Cast: Soundarya Sharma, Jimmy Shergill, Anupam Kher, Himansh Kohli, Taaha Shah and others
Rating: *

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 safe-cracker 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 Chaubey (Satish Shah), the cop.

Thakur, who has some shady dealings with Naxals, is also the much-hated uncle of Inspector Lallan Singh (Jimmy Shergill) and not-so-silent admirer of Gudiya. So these 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, it 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 at 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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