'Batti Gul' movie review: Worth seeing it this weekend?
Shahid Kapoor's low wattage social drama is a bore.
Lalita Nautiyal (Shraddha Kapoor), Sushil Kumar Pant, aka SK (Shahid Kapoor) and Tripathi (Divyendu Sharma) are childhood friends living in a small-town in Uttarakhand.
The movie kicks off with an archery competition where the prize is a free generator for the winning team's community hall for six months. That's how acute the problem of power outage is in this town.
SK is a lawyer who gets his degree after seven-and-a-half years and his business revolves around threatening and dragging local businesses to consumer courts. In the first half, SK is shown challenging the claims of a small tour operator and a biscuit manufacturer and extracting money from them. He believes that, "A successful lawyer is not the one who wins cases but the one who makes money," a mantra he is really proud of.
Tripathi is a small businessman who sets up a printing press. Things spiral down as the electricity supplier starts sending him inflated bills, accrued by faulty meters.
In a strange twist of events, Lalita, nicknamed Nauti, decides to date the boys for one week and choose one of them as her life partner in a fortnight! And that leads to a crack in their air-tight relationship.
Moments into the movie, you are put off by the seemingly 'Pahadi' singsong accent that the cast struggles with. Words like 'bal' and 'thahriya' are used at the end of every sentence.
The songs are mostly superfluous and don't do justice to Shahid's dance moves. Clearly, no thought has been given to the background score, which is random and jarring at most places.
Two narrators introduce the story to us, inspired by true events, switching from a colour to black and white mode but they just end up adding length to the film - which is long at over 2 hours 30 minutes.
The first half is set at a painful pace with characters like SK's elderly father, who runs a dharmashala, and is looking for a second wife, Tripathi's emotional family and Nauti's mother-grandmom duo, played by Supriya Pilgaonkar and Farida Jalal - the talented actors with no meat.
The film picks up post interval and is mostly a courtroom drama, where we see Yami Gautam make an entry as the lawyer representing the electricity supplier. The equally long second half has poor comic timing, a cricket-obsessed judge and a few sexist remarks by SK.
Shahid forcefully delivers a high-voltage performance that come across as gimmicky with an anti-establishment monologue thrown in, talking about the trials and tribulations of the common man, that falls flat. The courtroom drama also snowballs into a revolution of sorts at a national level that is too superficial for a film like Batti Gul Meter Chalu. Director Shree Narayan Singh, who gave us Toilet-Ek Prem Katha, fails to deliver here. You won't miss a thing if you give this movie a pass.
Stars: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Yami Gautam, Divyendu Sharma.
Director: Shree Narayan Singh
KRK's review of Batti Gul Meter Chalu