Actual Rating - 1 Flickering Bulb that goes Phuss.
Tatti Gul….oops…I mean Batti Gul…(though that’s a more befitting title of Shahid Kapoor’s latest release), is a contrived, forced attempt to showcase the problem of power cuts and obnoxious bills that Indians in some part of the country face. Sorry that will be misleading. Because the film doesn’t even talk about the issue, it just superficially touches upon it in the first half because the makers are too busy showcasing a weird love triangle, the absurdity of which makes Kim Kardashian and Rakhi Sawant look like the epitome of sanity.
Blowdried Curls Nauti (Shradha Kapoor) has two childhood friends, Sundar (Divyendu Sharma) and Sushil (Shahid Kapoor). She says and I kid you not, "Mujhe ladko ki kya zaroorat, mere pass toh dono hain, Sundar Sushil". And because years of friendship hasn’t given her any insights into their personalities, she decides to date them for a week. It’s like MTV Splitsvilla raised to the power of utter stupidity. So she sings a song with one for a week and observes the gentle behaviour of the other for another, and finally settles down for the good boy. Now, the differentiation between a good boy and bad boy is done smartly. The good boy rides a scooty, the bad boy rides a bike. So clever, right? Also some random things happen in the first half of the movie that really make no sense.
Sushil is an archer, no sorry, he is a lawyer who behaves like a conman. In one scene, in the dark of the night we see him participate in a competition where he shoots an arrow and hits the bull’s eye. Then we learn he is a lawyer because the front wheel of his bike reads A D V O C A T E. But he behaves like a conman, extorting money from people in the name of law. You hope this will all eventually make sense in the second half of the film. And it does. Only if you are still breathing by the end of it.
If you thought, Sushil and his professionals were weird, meet his father, who wants to get married again and publishes a matrimony ad in the newspaper. And why is that? Because hashtag cheap laughs. Because hashtag random stuff. Because hashtag Hindi films.
Batti Gul…has some back story of some hefty bills that lead to a business fiasco and tragedy. And boy, people start acting out of character! The bad boy shows concern and Blowdried Curls sports unkempt hair, moist eyes sans makeup. Awww such grief. Bawl. And that’s not all. There are sequences of bribery, charity and a revolution that’s based on, hold your breath for this one, a viral video! Because hey, what are our lives if we don’t exploit social media!
The film doesn’t have characters. It has caricatures instead. Famous actors are forced to speak in a dialect they neither own nor feel. A weird accent runs through the film and everyone ends every sentence with ‘ball’. As in power, not fun! Because we must not forget the film is all about ‘power’ play.
“Kya kar raha hain, ball?”
“Bijli chali gayi, ball!”
“Main tumse pyar karke thehri, ball.”
If I made a dollar every time someone said the word ball, I would have had enough money to light up the entire village and solve all their Batti problems.
After the exhausting first half, one expects things will finally take off in the second half. But hey, that can wait. Instead, we move from one song to the other and then to yet another, till we have moaned and moaned and moaned some more for our friend who is dead. People mouth heavy duty dialogues, feeling all emotional and looking so contrived that it induces yawns amongst audiences and eventually a special kind of headache. It felt like mohalle ki ramleela. Sorry, that’s not true. Mohalle ki ramleela was Oscar worthy in front of these cartoonish performances.
And then there is courtroom drama that body shames a lady advocate that finally leads to a speech on corruption that has the depth of a Chetan Bhagat book.
I constantly wished that Batti was Gull in the theatre with no meter to rescue. Alas, I had no such luck.