Ghaath (2000)

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Ghaath (2000)
Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Tabu, Om Puri, Anupam Kher, Sheeba
Director: Akshadeep
Music Director: Anu Malik
Synopsis: Very stale wine in not so new a bottle….offers nothing fresh or novel at all
Reviewed by: Faiz Khan

 

The film opens with the streets of Mumbai, the sea on one side, a voice over from Om Puri and a feeling that this could be more than just another corruption flick. That feeling lasts for all of 15 seconds when it becomes evident that this is no more than your usual corruption flick.

But there is nothing unusual in that for all hindi films are basically a regurgitation of a handful of story lines. The power or effectiveness of a film lies in its treatment, which is especially important when one is dealing with an oft repeated subject that this film follows. Krishna (Manoj Bajpai) is an aspiring police cadet, in police training school and confident that he will make it as a police inspector. He, his family and friends live in a basti in Mumbai. One day, the infamous “mamu” and his henchmen arrive to offer the basti alternative accommodation as they plan to build high rise apartments on their land. This offer is turned down by the basti by Mr Patil (Anupam Kher), Krishna’s father and the lot is sent packing by Krishna, who equates them to “chors”. An unnecessary insult and not a wise move on his part for next we hear that Krishna has been refused entry into the police.A voice over tells us that “mamu” was behind this. In the meantime, Krishna has also beaten up Inspector Godbole (Mukesh Tiwari) a lecherous police inspector who tried to proposition Krishna’s sister Mansi. Krishna has a temper and we are reminded of the opening line of the film “every citizen is a policeman without uniform”. Krishna cannot bear injustice and is constantly getting into scraps. Had be controlled his temper at the beginning, he may have made it as a policeman but one dreads to think of a policeman like him!

Now Godbole is after Krishna for having beaten him up. He has his friends picked up and beats them up. Krishna attends the police station with his police training teacher Inspector Pandey (Om Puri) but is thwarted by Godbole who reminds Pandey that he has no jurisdiction in his police station. However, the friends are saved by the swift intervention of advocate Kavita (Tabu) who is also Krishna’s love. We now hear of Pandey’s story in flashback which tells us that Mamu tried to bribe him but having refused his bribe, Pandey was transferred out of station. On one occasion, he returns unexpectedly to find Mamu with his wife. He shoots his wife but mamu gets away. Therefore, in Krishna and his friends, he sees the chance at hitting back at Mamu. Krishna’s sister is married off but the building where she lives with her husband collapses the day after their marriage and the bridal couple are killed. Mamu, responsible for the building, is brought to trial after a spate of murders in connection with being exposed as the person being the building of the flats. However, not unsurprisingly, he manages to get off as there is no proper evidence against him.

So how will justice be done. Does one go down the path of lawful endeavour or does one resort to the usual vigilantism. No prizes for guessing where the film goes from here. There is very little to recommend this very pedestrian and stale product by Akashdeep. In fact, it a convoluted and meandering film with shades of Shool, dil pe mat le yaar and dozens of other similar films not least the superior Kurukshetra. It has no idea what it is trying to say and ends up in a tangled mess of its own. One track is that of Godbole’s own egotistical power hungry revenge for having been the subject of humiliation by Krishna and the other track is the corruption that is personified by Mamu. This latter strand hardly makes an impression and it is as if the film resorts to Godbole’s character to keep the adrenalin needed for the film. But it only serves to bore the viewer even more than he is at this stage.

The moral of the story is to lose your idealism and if you are to beat corruption and crime from our society, then be prepared to do so through violent means as nothing else works. This is so utterly simplistic and seen before in hundreds of films before. It is not a responsible film on that part although perhaps we are made to feel by the climax scene that this may not be the path that one should tread but I certainly had no such feeling. In fact, I had little feeling or empathy with any of the characters of the film. Manoj Bajpai has made yet another poor choice of a role because it smacks of role he has done in the past and not very successfully. This is his most forced performance and he is mediocre in badly scripted role.

Tabu is completely and utterly wasted in this film. A song here and a scene there sums up her contribution to the film. Om Puri could have been given a stronger role but is perhaps the only spark in the film. Mukesh Tiwari is slimy but unremarkable as Godbole and Irfan Khan as Mamu is hardly menacing. Anu Malik’s music is poor with not a single memorable number in the film. This is a boring and stale affair, released in ramzan for those who need a good snooze to pass the time.