By Deepa Gahlot
This is a strange film—set in Benaras, with an illiterate, crematorium worker as protagonist, but the title is in English.
Dhiraj Kumar’s film, Kaashi In Search Of Ganga, is about the eponymous fellow, whose sister called Ganga goes missing.
Kaashi (Sharman Joshi) is accompanied by his new girlfriend, Devina (Aishwarya Dewan), who happens to be a journalist, with no work to do except run around with him. When he goes to the cops, they don’t pay any attention; the college where Ganga supposedly studied claims there is no student by that name. The plot thickens!
Then a classmate of Ganga reveals that she was in love with Abhimanyu (Mehul Surana), the son of a politician Balwant Pande (Govind Namdev), and was pregnant. They were planning to get married in secret because of the father’s opposition to the match.
Kaashi and Devina hunt for the boyfriend in Mussourie where they land straight into a drug den with scantily clad women women and masked men dancing, which is an excuse for a song! All the tuneless numbers are randomly stuffed in, and serve no purpose except to further slow down an already sluggish film.
One thing leads to another and Kaashi is arrested for murder; in court, two of the hammiest actors possible (Manoj Joshi, Akhilendra Mishra) play the opposing lawyers before a bored-looking judge (Manoj Pahwa). As they sneer and rant, the trial moves away from proving Kaashi’s guilt, to questioning the existence of Ganga. This leads to the most bizarre twist imaginable, which, if one gives it a thought, doesn’t make much sense.
This is the kind of slapdash film in which, when a character goes into flashback mode, she includes songs and conversations between two people she could not possibly have known about.
Sharman Joshi probably realised at some point what he had got himself into, and overacts to compensate for the rest of the inept cast of newbies and unknowns. This is a film desperately in search of style, sense and substance.
Kaashi In Search Of Ganga
Directed by: Dhiraj Kumar
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Aishwarya Dewan, Govind Namdev and others
Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best known entertainment journalists. A National Awardwinning film critic, Deepa has watched more movies and theatre than most people in the country. An author of several books on film and theatre, she has had an extremely successful run as head of theatre and film at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, during which she helped nurture several original productions. For Xyngr, Deepa Gahlot reviews theatre and cinema.