After nearly three hours of a bogus love triangle and half-hearted championing of social issues, the only thing Batti Gul Meter Chalu ascertains is there is no light at the end of this never-ending drab.
It’s a harrowing experience to sit through Director Shree Narayan Singh’s latest that yammers reams of gyaan on the common man’s woes but doesn’t think twice before doling out this dreary, dragging and annoying piece of cinema at a ticket-paying audience.
Singh takes the same fast-forward revolution route as his previous Toilet: Ek Prem Katha to shed some light on Uttarakhand’s frequent power outages and inflated electricity bill scam.
But while Toilet did well in rooting genuine sentiment at its core, Batti Gul Meter Chalu falters the minute it opens its mouth.
Every single sentence uttered (even texted) by every single character for every single emotion at all times of the day is punctuated by two words — thehra and bal to establish the script’s Garhwal setting. It is like writers Siddharth-Garima are ruthlessly spamming us with this so-called authenticity.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu may peddle itself as a movie that has got change on its mind but it is as predictable as the bulls eye shot of Shahid Kapoor’s archery display obliging with a quintessential Bollywood hero entry.
More of a lout than lawyer by profession, he is best friends with Shraddha Kapoor, a fashion designer, and Divyendu Sharma (harmless but doesn’t stand out), a rookie businessman since childhood.
Both guys want to take their friendship to another level, but the outcome of her selection leaves one sulking like the inflamed witch who wasn’t invited to the party.
After spending a tedious half of the movie on their romantic circus — Shraddha even dresses as colourfully as a clown — Batti Gul Meter Chalu‘s alarm clock finally goes off and the film slips into its courtroom drama clothes.
As if the length isn’t problematic enough, Sharib Hashmi narrates all these afore-mentioned events and its various flashbacks to a nondescript curious soul in a black and white parallel timeline.
There is no shortage of pointless interruptions in Batti Gul Meter Chalu‘s long-winded narrative. Fine actors are tossed in the mix to no avail. Like Sudhir Pandey, as Shahid’s father, keeps wife hunting in a silly wig. Loveable movie mommies Farida Jalal and Surpriya Pilgaonkar are reduced to murmuring sidekicks. Brijendra Kala shows up for a thankless cameo whereas Sushmita Mukerjee isn’t given enough room to flex her quirky judge beyond a two-expressions emoji.
Most of it is reserved for Shraddha Kapoor and her absurd, attention grabbing wardrobe wholeheartedly following her ostensible brief to annoy with abandon.
The other lady on board, Yami Gautam doesn’t get much to do. Her spunk is out of place around the script’s commitment to buffoonery, where everyone from the judge to her legal opponent addresses her Gulnar as Gullu.
The big twist up its sleeve is foreseeable to anyone who has watched Hindi movies long enough to know better.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu‘s final few minutes weepily rave and rant about the injustice meted out at the ‘sadharan aadmi.’ But the mockery that precedes it akin to watching Shahid Kapoor host a humourless awards show.
The actor gives his all to the part, smoothly swinging between the stand-up and speech-y tone of its courtroom scenes. Unfortunately, his comic ease and contagious energy are not enough to brighten up this dim-witted slog.