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Dim Bulb

Saturday, September 22, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Batti Gul Meter Chalu
Shree Narayan Singh
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Shradha Kapoor, Divyendu Tripathi, Yami Gautam, and others
Rating: * *

SHREE Narayan Singh is trying to combine social issues in small town India, with a mainstream style with stars, songs and all. He succeeded with ‘Toilet Ek Prem Katha’, this time round, his ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’, about power woes in Uttarakhand, trips like a faulty connection.

First of all, the three-hour film doesn’t even begin till it is almost time for the interval. Most of the first half is wasted in establishing the love triangle between small time lawyer Sushil Kumar Pant or SK (Shahid Kapoor), fashion designer Lalita ‘Nauti’ Nautiyal (Shraddha Kapoor) and newly minted entrepreneur Sunder
Tripathi (Divyendu Sharma). Later in court, when a battle is being fought over corrupt business practices, the romance pops up and the question is eventually asked about what one has to do with the other. Exactly!

So after song-dance-friendship banter-golgappa eating in picturesque Tehri, Nauti has to choose between the two men, and she picks Sundar, who is a decent man as compared to SK’s crooked blackmailing lawyer. SK is a sore loser, and when Sunder comes to him for help, he turns his friend down. Sundar has received a hugely  inflated power bill for his new printing press and faces ruin if he is unable to pay.

He thinks it would save his family and their home if he were dead, and the insurance received would help clear debts. His own guilt and a grief-stricken Nauti’s taunts lead him to court to challenge the power company and their devious ways.The defence lawyer is Gulnar Rizvi (Yami Gautam), who matches SK sneer for sneer, but is the target of offensive sexist dialogue.

The songs are awkwardly fitted in and of the actors, only Divyendu Sharma musters up the required spark. Uttarakhand had been shot in all its scenic splendor, and the characters speak the local dialect, but this attention to detail is not applied to the rest of the film.

The problems of deficiency in an essential, service, overbilling, corporate greed and apathy are very relevant, but Singh turns the courtroom scenes, presided over by a bored-looking judge (Sushmita Mukherjee) into a travesty of the legal process. So in the end, neither the love story, nor the flag waving hits the spot.

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