Planet Bollywood
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local
 
Producer: Gurunath (Quartet Productions)
Director: Sanjay Kharooni
Starring: Abhay Deol, Neha Dhupia, Snehal Dhabi, Deepak Shirke, Ashok Samarth, and Vinay Apte
Music: : Sandesh Shandilya, Amar Mohile, Dj Aqeel, Call the Band, Ankur Tewari, Tknow F
Lyrics: Mehboob, Ankur Tewari, Xulfi
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Film Released on: 18 May 2007
Reviewed by: Amodini Sharma  - Rating: 7.5 / 10
 
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Public Rating Average: 5.1 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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lack humor has few proponents in Bollywood. So when a new director like Sanjay Khanduri comes up with a story-based film, I viewed it with skepticism. When the film got off to a slow start I was sort of expecting it. And when it got really boring, I was sort of expecting that too. And just when I was ready to give up on it, it picked up. ECKLL has got to be the sleeper of the year.

OK, so there’s this yuppie guy Nilesh (Deol), who having had a few after-work beers with colleagues, misses the last local (1:40 am) to Vikhroli. Near the station, he meets a girl Madhu (Dhupia) who’s returning from a marriage function and has also missed her train. Thus, the two get-together (why exactly ? wasn’t able to figure that out) and decide to wait for the train together. Hmm. . . and what better way to while away the time than to wait at a nearby seedy beer bar ? (Now I really have misgivings about the film ).

So they’re at the beer bar, where Nilesh meets old-time friend Pat, and a whole host of other characters/goons, and manages to get embroiled in a murder for which he’s blamed ! Throw in a couple of other sub-plots involving ransom money, corrupt police officers and a gay mafia don and you have ECKLL. Yes, the story won’t win you a Pulitzer, but it’s got enough twists and turns to keep one engrossed. The moment the murder happens, things perk up. And it’s all uphill from there on.

The cast does well enough. Abhay Deol has proved himself before – he was good in his debut film “Socha na tha”, and he performs just as well here too. The little flaws I noticed in his character I’m attributing to the not-so-perfect etching out of his role. Neha Dhupia has improved on her acting skills, and actually looks believable here. Vinay Apte is the understated South Indian goon Ponappa and Ashok Samarth a convincingly corrupt cop.

This is a plot-driven film, a film where a seemingly normal guy gets caught up in a world of, I wouldn’t say abnormal, but stretching-the-norm kind of characters. It’s a very eclectic set ; they have their fetishes and they stick to them. You know – the kind of characters that are so off-the-wall that they fit right in ? Well, they’re in this film. The story wends it’s way around Mumbai’s underbelly – the mafia, and their fights, corruption and prostitution. The mood of the film is dark, there is violence, and lots of expletives being casually thrown about. Still there are situations that make you laugh out loud, and silliness that gives rise to mirth.

Khanduri handles all this very well for a first-timer. The film is a bold, innovative effort. And yes, it might be rough around the edges, maybe all the tees aren’t crossed and the I’s aren’t dotted, and the film doesn’t shine with the sheen of sophistication, but it’s definitely headed in the right direction. It’s helped on it’s way by fairly decent music; “Laree Choote” is a hit, and the almost acapella style arrangement of “Bheegi bheegi si” is catchy.

So yes, although Khanduri could polish his work a bit, this one deserves your time.

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