'Ranchi Diaries': Movie Review

By Anirban Lahiri

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Thespian Anupam Kher makes a mix of screwball and mumble core to initiate the kids from his acting academy, Actor Prepares, in acting in a feature film. The purpose is commendable. But, the result frustrates us.

The premise is a known one. Girl is to elope with boy to settle in the tinsel town. She is street-smart, while he is chocolate but skilled. They need money. They loot a bank.

Almost a picaresque drama. Definitely not a Bonny and Clyde. With forced and fake dialogues, cliché characterizations and goals, and setup stereotypes worse than the Ed Wood spoofs, the film is halted since it begins.

Time and again, we have seen when new directors want to make a shoe-string-budget feature for the first time, they come either to action or to comedy. Both becomes some kind of unintentional spoof of badly handled narration. Ranchi Diaries looks like vaudeville, the Indian traveling theatre, badly accomplished and recorded for screen.

What it could have been instead! The vaudeville form was used by the French and American silent comedy makers. That was the perfect form for satire on the screen. AnupamKher must know all these. He is a senior, efficient stage and screen person. Instead, under the help of his mentorship, the director chose to overburden the narration with chocolaty, visual-media –  school-exercise type body language and dialogues.

The film is replete with clichés – mad lovers, local goons, trustable friends, the local Don (Thakur Bhaiya, played by AnupamKher) who is enamored with Gudiya (Soundarya Sharma) – the lover girl who wants to be a music diva in the tinsel town, honest cop (Jimmy Shergill) who wants to catch his own uncle (Thakur Bhaiya, AnupamKher) red-handed – a honest cop, and the local Naxalites who are in an entente with Thakur Bhaiya.

When the film began at the end of the story, it showed some promise for a new style - rural and rusty, unhindered by the Bollywood conventions. Within five minutes, that promise is broken. This film, like scores of other contemporary films, tries to imitate the glamorous Bollywood in cheap ways.

This film is a lesson for wannabe indie filmmakers, film students and actors who want to make something of choice. The film teaches what not to do. It shows how one can close options.

One can prepare fantastic water-rice with tamarind with scanty resources. Trying the best biriyani with the same would always be ludicrous.

The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of A Potpourri of Vestiges. Any omissions or errors are the author's and A Potpourri of Vestiges does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

Ranchi Diaries - Official Trailer

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