Batti Gul Meter Chalu is the second film of director Shree Narayan Singh who once again unites with writer duo Sidhartha – Garima after Toilet Ek Prem Katha. Coming to the movie, this one is also built using the same mold of Toilet of being a deliberate message movie. Cinematically or creatively there is hardly anything there in the movie to impress you and the major positive here is the flawless performance with terrific flow from Shahid Kapoor.
Sundar, Sushil (SK) and Nauti are these three best friends. SK is a crooked lawyer, Nauti is an aspiring small-town designer and Sundar is the most naive of the gang who has this plan to start a printing press. Because of the electricity bills, Sundar’s business hits a roadblock and what happens to him forces his best friend SK to put on the lawyer coat and fight for his best friend. How that legal fight goes is what Batti Gul Meter Chalu dealing with.
Entertaining masala movies have this burden of being entertaining beyond the agenda. So Batti Gul Meter Chalu has a love triangle track which doesn’t make much of a sense looking at the central conflict. And that inclusion becomes a major itching factor when you realize that the movie’s duration is almost three hours. Shree Narayan Singh should have followed the footsteps of Subhash Kapoor who made an engaging filmy courtroom drama in the form of Jolly LLB. The movie gets a considerable rhythm when it becomes that courtroom drama and even though I wasn’t a big fan of some of the jokes, Shahid Kapoor was simply scoring in each scene which made me less bothered about the preachy attitude of the script. Seeing that overexposed trailer, I was hoping Sidhartha Singh and Garima Wahal would invest more time on showing us the harsh side of the privatized electricity sector, but sadly there wasn’t a major attempt to analyze that.
Shahid Kapoor who is in the terrific form of late yet again makes the character of SK endearing. The wacky eccentric style and the emotional heft of the character get depicted perfectly by the actor and he is perhaps the only reason why the courtroom sequences had a charm. I am not an expert to talk about the dialect of the actors in this movie. Shraddha Kapoor manages to make her presence felt in the film. Divyendu Sharma as the naïve Sundar is also genuine in his performance showcasing the fragility of the character. Yami Gautam appears as a lawyer character that was deliberately made weak so that SK’s arguments could sound more powerful.
With Toilet, Shree Narayan Singh has made it clear that he isn’t much interested in the layered representation of characters and stories. The same kind of loudness can be seen in the case of Batti Gul Meter Chalu as well. For the sake of dance and music, we have a love triangle and friendship story that takes forever to finish so that the film can move to the courtroom. Once it reaches the courtroom, the movie shows the case as a nationwide sensation, but the vibe inside the courtroom is pretty much like they are dealing with a petty case. The issues addressed here are valid and as cinema is an influential medium one can’t really criticize the makers harshly for this loud presentation. The visuals are fine while I felt the edits could have been crispier.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a social message driven entertainer formula. As a creative product, it is not at all a great creation. But the intent and the performance of Shahid Kapoor makes me say that it is an average film.
As a creative product, it is not at all a great creation. But the intent and the performance of Shahid Kapoor makes me say that it is an average film.