Batti Gul Meter Chalu, a film by Narayan Singh, is the story of inflated electricity bills and corruption in the system. The film certainly has a very relevant message to convey but the melodrama dominates. The melodramatic depictions as well as the running time of almost 3 hours make the film weak, but one can not ignore the issue raised in the film. Love triangle between the three lead protagonists of the film in the context of the issue raised is not too strong to hold the audience engaged. The film does convey that corrupt energy suppliers don’t allow small scale industries to prosper since most of the time these businesses are plagues with load shedding and power cuts but still getting inflated electricity bills.
The premise of the story is that a young entrepreneur Sundar (Divyendu Sharma) who starts a packaging company, gets mentally tortured with the inflated electricity bills. His childhood friend Sushil Kumar Pant aka SK (Shahid Kapoor), who does not generally have any ethical stand as far as his profession is concerned, acts as per his conscience and fights the court battle against the mighty Power Company. Shraddha who plays the role of their friend cum designer Lalita ‘Nauti’ Nautiyal joins SK in his fight against the corrupt system. The film does show that when the whole set of consumers join hand together even the mightiest corporation can become weak and end up yielding to the justice.
Set in Tehri in Uttarakhand, the film begins with two of the travellers in Bus – Vikas and Kalyan unraveling the story of three friends SK, Sundar and Lalita. The names Vikas and Kalyan are purposefully chosen to take a dig at the development and welfare activities of our country. Certain dialogues do project that how development and welfare activities are just on papers whereas not happening in reality in the afflicted areas. Sk is an advocate who makes money with out of court settlements. Sundar dreams of making it big through his entrepreneurial venture. And Lalita is a designer who thinks of herself as one of the best and superior designer. The first half of the film builds up the plot of how the friendship between the three gets converted into a love triangle. The second half is spent mostly in the court scenes where SK confronts with the defense lawyer Gulnaar (Yami Gautam).
The dialogues are written in pahadi style with most of the statements ending with ‘Bal’. ending. SK’s over the top claptrap dialogues with cringey sexist jokes aimed at Gulnaar somewhere dilutes the message of the film.
All the three main protagonists – Shahid, Shraddha and Divyendu play their parts well. Yami is also good. Sushmita Mukherjee as judge is good. Samir Soni has a small role as the owner of the Power Company as Sanjay Baduriya. Badral Islam and Sharib Hashmi as Kalyan and Vikas respectively narrate the story.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a film which raises a valid issue that of inflated electricity bills and corruption in the system. But the melodramatic depiction as well as the running time of almost 3 hours make the film weak, although one can not ignore the issue raised in the film.
Rating: 2.5/5 (Average+)