Ghoomketu Movie Review and Rating 3/5: A satirical, scathing take on movies and Mumbai

U/A; Comedy
On: ZEE5

Director: Pushpendra Nath Misra
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Raghuvir Yadav, Ila Arun

Hindi cinema should never stop making films about films and their inside world and how an outsider wishes to break into it. If Ram Gopal Varma’s Rangeela was a film that highlighted a woman’s journey from a background dancer to a star, Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance was a charming ode to Bollywood and its dark side that’s often fended off by its glamour. Writer-director Pushpendra Nath Misra’s Ghoomketu is a movie that tells the story of someone without whom there would probably be no movies – a writer.

This writer is played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays the eponymous character and resides with his eccentric family in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahona. His family comprises of Raghuvir Yadav (father), Ila Arun (aunt), and Swanand Kirkire (uncle), all with their own quirks and unconventional qualities. There’s also a mysterious wife who Ghoomketu thinks was mistakingly exchanged at his wedding ceremony. This comedy about a writer’s aspirations to be in Bollywood was completed in 2014, and it comes to us nearly six years later.

Today, small-town comedies may have begun to feel mundane and monotonous, but Misra has treated the film with care, never allowing it to look stale. And as long as the narrative of a film is about the world of films, who cares when it was made? Parental conflicts in movies and characters about aspirations and dreams are nearly inevitable, and Ghoomketu has to face it in the form of his father, the always reliable Raghuvir Yadav. We recently saw him in TVF’s fantastic Panchayat, but this character is an explosion waiting to happen, and his unpredictable outbursts have been given a humorous touch.

Watch the trailer right here:

In fact, the entire film is laced with hilarity that even when Ghoomketu is struggling to make ends meet, we have a smile on our face. Siddiqui has mastered the art of owning the milieu he occupies since his breakout performance in Gangs of Wasseypur in 2012. His performance is nicely amalgamated with the tone and mood of the story. He’s perpetually curious to know more about writing and Bollywood, and his desperation to make it big leads, or should we say, forces him to write as many as five scripts of five different genres. Right from horror to romance to sci-fi to melodrama, he gives it his all, and Misra films the little montages of all these stories with great precision and is helped by some memorable throwaway performances.

Chitrangda Singh, Ranveer Singh, and Sonakshi Sinha are clearly having a good time in their ingenious cameos. An ode to one of Hindi cinema’s most successful romances, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge particularly stands out. There’s also Anurag Kashyap as Inspector Badlani, who has been asked to nab Ghoomketu to avoid a transfer to a remote area. Kashyap and Siddiqui barely meet each other in the film, yet, are bound by time, and united by circumstances. Both are weighed down by despair and dejection. Ghoomketu’s failure leads to some of the film’s most charming lines. It’s almost metaphorical to describe the panic and pandemonium in Mumbai to a Mela where children get easily lost.

It’s hard to remember a film that described Mumbai and movies with such overwhelming precision. It’s full of frustration, depression, but also celebration. Even when a lot of the gags, like a bit where Siddiqui shoots for a sci-fi film, don’t land, the inherent sincerity of the makers is clearly visible. We had Sanjay Mishra’s Kamyaab too this year, which was a tribute to the unsung heroes of Hindi cinema, what a lot of people describe as the ‘character actors’. Ghoomketu, as stated above, goes a step beyond and tries to delve into the world of writers, and how they truly are the unsung heroes of cinema. The finale is an absolute cracker, featuring Amitabh Bachchan, which reaffirms the fact of how serendipity can change things overnight.

And as far as the opening scene is concerned, even before we meet this enthusiast, Ghoomketu mentions The Mahabharata and how Lord Ganesha wrote a historic tale with his broken tooth since there were no pens at that time. Had it not been for Ganesha, there would be no Mahabharata for us to read; it’s a smart and clever analogy because had it not been for our writers, there would be no movies!

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