By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Ranchi Diaries”; Director: Sattwik Mohanty; Cast: Himanshu Kohli, Soundarya Sharma, Taaha Shah, Harry Bala, Pitobash, Pradeep Singh, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill and Satish Kaushik; Rating: **
Contextually, director Sattwik Mohanty’s “Ranchi Diaries” showcases Asia’s largest mental hospital, which is situated in Ranchi.
But unlike the hospital which treats its patients, director Sattwik Mohanty treats (read entertains) his audience with low-IQ, physiologically challenged characters. In this quirk-of-fate film, they are supposed to ignite the humour factor.
The plot, with a botched abduction followed by a bank robbery that lands the gang in more trouble, forms the crux of the tale.
Narrated in a non-linear manner, the plot and the screenplay are lazily crafted in a slipshod manner. The narrative begins on a dramatic note with a rural bank being robbed on the Ranchi-Patratu highway. While the police have surrounded the bank in the hope of arresting the robbers, speculation about the burglars abounds. Some are even as preposterous as the robbers being aliens.
Then to enlighten us on the current scenario, the narrative rewinds to events that occurred a week earlier. We are introduced to a load of characters which are tedious for absorption. Instead of being organic, this information overload is indolently dumped down by a voice-over, which is unenthusiastically rendered by Vijay Raaz.
Anupam Kher plays Thakur Bhaiya, the quintessential local mafia king who has his fingers in every pie of Ranchi. His nephew Lalan (Jimmy Shergill) is the principled police officer of the region, who is at constant loggerheads with him.
Monish (Himanshu Kohli), an engineer by profession, also known as a “master mechanic”, is in love with Gudiya (Soundarya Sharma), a singer who has dreams of becoming a pop sensation like Shakira. Her talent draws the unwanted attention of Thakur Bhaiya. So they are constantly deciding to elope.
One evening, in an inebriated state, Monish abuses Thakur Bhaiya and hence he is picked up by Thakur Bhaiya’s goons.
Meanwhile, Monish’s friends, Pinku (Taaha Shah) and Bunty (Pradeep Singh), the two “matric-fail sons” of a retired postmaster who are bullies and consider themselves to be the Godfathers of the younger generation, unknowingly, along with their friend Babloo (Harry Bala), kidnap Thakur Bhaiya’s younger brother. Their van gets intercepted by the goons carrying Monish.
The four friends land up at Thakur Bhaiya’s bungalow who decides to teach them a lesson. Lalan interrupts Thakur’s plans by saying that if the four are involved with kidnapping, the law will investigate and punish the four.
So, he hands over the four friends to his junior, Sub Inspector Choubey (Satish Kaushik) to proceed with the investigation. Instead, the corrupt officer insists on being bribed. So, how the five of them successfully rob a bank and later lose the money, is what keeps you hooked.
While the characters are stereotypical, the performances of the entire cast are perforce perfunctory and to top it all, the accents of the cast seem laboured and forced.
The music does supplement the viewing experience, but does not elevate it as the blaring din it creates is annoying.
Overall, “Ranchi Diaries” tries hard to be quirky but fails miserably.
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