Director: Ravindra Gautam
Cast: Anupam Kher, Neha Dhupia, Divyendu Sharma, Manu Rishi Chadha, Aditi Sharma, Rajesh Sharma
Rating: 1 and a half stars
Director Ravindra Gautam knew the story he wanted to tell was not a loud boisterous comedy, but a political satire. Unfortunately this tale has been told countless times cinematically.
Puroshottam Joshi (Anupam Kher) is an honest BMC worker who is also the epitome of honesty and goodness. His two sons Subhash (Divyendu Sharma) and Shekhar (Manu Rishi) are loud and corrupt and embody everything that is opposite of what he believes in. Respect eluded Joshi all his life and on the last day of his retirement, he hopes to find some solace in gracefully retiring from an institution he has dedicated his life to. However, as luck would have it, he is accused of theft and is left insulted in front of his colleagues. Unable to bear the slander he has been subjected to, he returns home to breathe his last during a scuffle with his sons. A tad bit late, both the sons realise the value of integrity and honesty and set out to fulfil their father's death wish, which is to get the ultimate honour - 21 gun salute.
The idea in itself is interesting but there are a few lame moments as well. After Joshi's death, the sons find a diary of his father where he has jotted down moments when he wasn't given his due respect. The scene was a heart changing one for the sons, but fails to connect with the viewers. Brimming with melodrama, the scene seemed rather funny.
Take any good comedy and you'll see that it’s either the plot or the characters that work, in ‘Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami’, it is the characters that you'll remember. Anupam Kher is simply at his best as a man troubled by rampant corruption. As the patriarch, Kher embodies the spirit of a common man with an irritated conscience, uncompromising and loving but an emotionally reserved father, just about anyone can identify with. Divyendu Sharma's character comes off age as the story progresses and Manu Rishi is a shrewd elder brother who deserved more screen time. Divyendu Sharma is a talent to look out for and Bollywood ought to do itself a favour by using him more regularly. Then there's Rajesh Sharma playing the smarmy and oily politician. Neha Dhupia plays a negligible role and deserved better screen space. But the actors with relatively smaller roles perform their parts so well that you're convinced nobody could do them better. There's Uttara Baokar as Rajesh Sharma's scheming mother, Sudhir Pande as the father-in-law of Anupam's elder son, and Aashif Sheikh as the journalist - they are at the top of their game. The surprise package of the film is definitely Aditi Sharma who delivers a cutesy performance as Divyendu's girlfriend.
EKTS highlights a lot of social issues the society is plagued with, but does not hint at any solution. Television director Ravindra Gautam captures the flavour of Mumbai in the emotional climate and body language of the characters. The film is not thought-provoking but Gautam has his intentions in place. EKTS is watchable only for its simplicity and subtle humour. In a scene when the journalist (Aashif Sheikh) meets the politician (Rajesh Sharma), he says 'Yeh entertainment hain aur yehi news' while pointing to the news that is being aired on television. In another scene, where the journalist (Sheikh) asks audiences to SMS what's a better nickname - Babu or Sonu, you laugh but are instantly reminded of many such instances while watching news on television. However, unable to break the curse of the second half ETKS falls victim to an unnecessarily dragged narrative.
Ram Sampath's music is disappointing; in a movie where there are no big names the music could have been the saving grace. 'Ghoor Ghoor Ke' is a visually interesting song where Neha Dhupia reprises some of the most iconic songs of Bollywood with Rajesh Sharma. But the rest of the songs feel ill-timed and mostly unnecessarily to the flow of film.
ETKS is strictly a one-time watch if you have to choose among the host of films that have released this week simply because of its noble intentions and great acting jobs.