Load-shedding and excessive electricity bill has been an issue for the majority of the middle-class families in India. Director Shree Narayan Singh has yet again picked up a much relevant topic for his movie Batti Gul Meter Chalu (Batti Gul Metre Chalu), but somehow could not make it impactful enough, at least in the first half, in his attempt to give it a typical Bollywood treatment.
Three childhood friends – Sushil Kumar Pant aka SK (Shahid Kapoor), Lalita Nautiyal aka Nauti (Shraddha Kapoor) and Sundar Mohan Tripathi aka Tripathi (Divyendu Sharma) -- live happily in the beauty of Uttarakhand, which ends up with an extreme shortage of electricity.
SK is a clever lawyer, who somehow managed to pass the law course after 7 and half years of struggle, and now manages to earn money by blackmailing petty fraudsters. Nauti runs a boutique, and Tripathi is a simple lad, who is beyond happy after setting up a printing press.
However, things start to get awry after Tripathi receives huge electricity bill of Rs 54 lakh for his factory, which of course is a faulty bill. Baffled by the huge sum, he knocks the door of a consumer grievance cell but receives no help there.
Being unable to pay the bill, and in order to save his family from going homeless, he commits suicide (in a way that appears like an accident), so that his family could get money from his life insurance. However, Nauti and SK soon realise that it is not an accident but a suicide. Heart-broken by the loss of his best friend, lawyer SK sets out to avenge Tripathi's death by dragging the giant electricity supply company to court.
Whether he becomes successful in his endeavour or he succumbs to the system forms the crux of the movie.
Shahid is a brilliant actor, but it is disappointing to see him being made unnecessarily overact in the first half of the movie. However, the actor shines in the second half, pulling off the emotional scenes and the courtroom drama wonderfully. Shraddha plays her part of a carefree but emotional girl well.
Divyendu has a strong role in the film as well. He plays the character of an ideal son and life partner, who has a pure heart but is very weak emotionally. He has also pulled off the role well. Yami Gautam plays a lawyer in the film, and she looks both gorgeous as well as strong. The cinematography is good, capturing the scenic beauty of Uttarakhand.
The first half of Batti Gul Meter Chalu is highly disappointing. It is too amateurish, and unengaging. Shahid's overenthusiastic acting, apparently to make the character look irresponsible, is actually irritating. The first half makes you lose interest in the film as there are hardly any good dialogues or interesting development until a few minutes before the interval. The director could have kept the film little crispier as Batti Gul Meter Chalu is almost three-hours-long.
It is only from the second half of the movie that it starts to get a little interesting. The second half includes some mature acting, and Shahid is the one who steals the show, especially during the courtroom drama. The climax of the film has an interesting twist to the plot.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu dwells on a potential topic, but the director misses on making it engaging enough as far as the first half of the film is concerned. If you are able to withstand it till the interval, you will get to watch and enjoy an interesting courtroom drama in the second half.