Written and directed by Pushpendra Nath Misra (who also makes a cameo in the film), Ghoomketu is a story about a person with the same name, that loosely translates as “the star that returns home”, in turn focusing on the fact that not all Bollywood stories, are that of success. However, the director takes a comic route to tell this tale, which lives up to that genre, but otherwise feels like a drag.
“Zindagi ke tajurbe ko sahej kar, samet kar jo likhta hai na? Woh writer kehlata hai” says the editor of the local newspaper Gudgudi to Ghoomketu, who has a masters degree in Hindi Literature and wants to be a writer. He however, lacks experience. After rejecting him and telling him the dialogue, the editor hands him a Screenwriting book for Dummies that will teach him how to write films in 30 days as a “gift”, only because it is written by him.
Ghoomketu’s family is one of the more influential families in Mohana, UP, though the interpersonal camaraderie that they share is hilariously interesting. Ghoomketu’s Dadda (Raghuvir Yadav) has only one tone for every conversation, anger, which sometimes is so redundant, that it’s funny. Swanand Kirkire plays Guddan Chacha, a devdas politician who, because he didn’t get the love of his life, remains a bachelor. Saving the best for the last, Santo Bua (Ila Arun), the only person who ever supported Ghoomketu’s dreams, and also the only person who held this comically aggressive family together.
Being rejected from Gudgudi, he cannot take it anymore and finally decides to go to Mumbai, as an aspiring writer, who needs to “struggle” before getting his film made. He has the passion to tell stories, which we understand very early on when he breaks the wall while narrating tales. Although, his stories are as mediocre as they can be.
Back in Mohana, his family files a missing complaint, and thanks to political pressure, the case needs to be solved within 30 days. This case falls under Inspector Badlani (Anurag Kashyap), a corrupt and lazy cop, who in the last 15 years of his service hasn’t solved a single case. Unlike his backstory, which is shown beautifully through a song, Anurag barely brings anything to the role, so even less of him in the film is fine.
The story of an outsider wanting to enter Bollywood isn’t particularly new, and hence the onus falls onto the creator to show it through a different perspective, and that’s where the director fails. The best scenes come from Mohana, thanks to an ensemble who know what they’re doing and are great at it. Nonetheless, it’s the Mumbai part of the film that suffers. A producer asking him to write a certain something and still rejecting it, the stereotype of a writer sitting in an Irani café and writing cameos from Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, none of this adds anything gripping to the plot, which then starts feeling like a drag.
The entire film has an underlying tone of comedy flowing throughout its narrative, that sometimes will throw you off your chairs, but on a larger level, this film falls flat and starts to feel like a drag. With both given 30 days, the film intercuts between past and present, while also intercutting between sequences that are black and white, but still this stylised way of storytelling adds nothing to the overall narrative. The story also tries to add a lot of analogies and metaphor, that seemed forceful to a film that is at its best when it’s goofy and funny.
The cast does put in the extra effort and they do shine within the characters they play. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Ghoomketu is a delight to watch. A naïve, innocent aspiring artist from a small town, Nawaz’s ability to deliver dialogue with a straight face which charges a scene with that funny element while his passion to tell stories is just a joy to watch, even with him narrating dialogues from both parties.
Ghoomketu, released after 5 years of it being made, lives up on its comedic front, however other elements feel like a drag, and all the more so with a cast that can do much more if provided with better substance.
The film is now streaming on Zee 5 Premium.