Batti Gul Meter Chalu

wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

Considering it is an almost 3 hour film, it doesn’t bore. That the two halves are two films might have something to do with it.

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Running time: 170 minutes
Genres: Social
More Movie Info

I don’t remember the last time the lyrics of a song have stuck with me. How can you forget, “when you getting gold, why you taking tamba; when you getting gabbar, why you taking samba” once you have heard it? Of course, the movie is not half as inspired, even though you can see the angst and the heart behind it. Unfortunately, that comes through only in the second half, which is as disconnected to the first half as it can be.

In a crisper avatar, Batti Gul Meter Chalu might just have made for one cohesive film.

Sure, it brings up a topic that isn’t touched upon too often – the situation of electric power supply in the country. But, the film in its entirety stretches a bit too long. The love triangle in the first half might be an excuse to set things up for the second half but is rather lackluster and supefluous. Fortunately, the characteristics established in the first half stay consistent through the second half and that adds a subtle shine to the film’s otherwise dry writing.

The actors take the writing through for they play the contrasts well. Divyendu Sharma stands out with his submissive, common man act. Shahid Kapoor does the angsty opposite end quite well too. Shraddha Kapoor adds her bit by portraying a fiery, small-town girl. But, the writing is clearly focussed on the two men. So much so that, even Yami Gautam, who plays a lawyer against Shahid Kapoor’s character in the second half’s courtroom drama, feels like she was chosen just so one of the men are not left partner-less. Even so, she tries to infuse life into her role.

The little done well though is shortchanged by the run-time. What gives filmmakers the confidence to make films more than 100-120 minutes long is beyond me. Even the best directors must prefer to keep their films crisp, if not for anything else in the interest of economics. It must be the passion with which the writers and director feel about the issue having to meet the need for a story that gets them carried away. Sure, we want to feel what the characters feel and the scenes have to brew for that to happen. Sure, the lyrics amuse you and the film needs room for songs for that to happen. But is that material worthy of 40-60 minutes of run-time. I don’t think so. In a crisper avatar, Batti Gul Meter Chalu might just have made for one cohesive film. The one I watched though was two films stuck together – one filled with the angst of unrequited love and the other filled with angst against the sham called “progess”.

- meeta, a part of the audience

27 reviewers(?) - 2 yays 14 so-so 11 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...Verdict: Watch BGMC because it throws light on the issue of electricity, which is a fundamental human right. If we sit like frogs in a well, we may never learn what ails the real India. Jaago guys, jaago.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, : ...For the most part, Batti Gul Meter Chalu keeps you engaged because the story has enough to chew on. The film is crippled however by excess. Clocking in at nearly three hours, someone clearly left the meter chalu too long.... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, BATTI GUL METER CHALU is an average, one-time watch entertainer that appeals only in parts. The film has lot of flaws and loose ends and Shahid Kapoor’s entertaining performance saves the day to an extent. At the box office, it will require a really strong word of mouth to attract footfalls.... full review

So-So, by Dishya Sharma, Bollywood Life : ...The story has loopholes and is extremely slow. While Shahid tries his best to keep the batti chalu, the lights of this movie keep flickering and doesn’t give the shock it was meant to deliver. If you’re a Shahid Kapoor fan, the film is a treat. Otherwise, you could give this movie a skip.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a film which has its heart in the right place. Better editing and a shortening of length by twenty minutes would have made the film more impactful.... full review

So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, FirstPost : ...The trailer of this film tells you almost all there is to know. Take that three minutes and add another 172: The main feature is a bloated narrative that skirts almost three hours. If the filmmaker had cut out the vapid first 15 minutes, and the black and white scenes (a narration device), think how much electricity and time could have been saved – not to mention how much more tolerable this film would have been.... full review

So-So, by "Jyoti Sharma Bawa ", Hindustan Times : ...Butti Gul Meter Chalu had a lot of promise, but just like the government it targets, it fails to deliver.... full review

So-So, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...Performance-wise, this is a Shahid Kapoor show, and he is correctly hyper, uncouth and, in his own way, ruthless. Divyenndu is alright but shows limitations. Shraddha Kapoor connects well, but remains, thanks to the writing, nice without being extraordinary. Yami Gautam is a surprise, though. From scene one, she is extraordinary, given her limited scope. From the rest, Atul Srivastava as Sundar’s father makes a mark. The rest are average.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...This kind of film can turn too preachy for its own good, but Batti Gul Meter Chalu is careful not to get too much in lecture-mode. The rest of it made me smile, and gave me pause: how do you expect people to live without ‘bijli’ in today’s world? It is, as SK says thunderously, a fundamental right.... full review

So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Batti Gul Meter Chalu says a very important thing but the treatment messes all up. It’s high time Shahid Kapoor gets his due in Bollywood but this is not that film. Watch it for its intent & Shahid Kapoor!... full review

So-So, by Letty Mariam Abraham, MiD DAY : ...What worked in Batti Gul Meter Chalu is that Singh establishes the outage at the onset by his use of darkness throughout the film. Cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley captures the serene locations around Uttarakhand beautifully. But the film is too peripheral to serve as a social drama. Neither does it entertain as a courtroom drama nor leave you feeling empowered.... full review

So-So, by Nandan Kini, Mumbai Mirror : ...Overall, Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a film that does seem to have its heart in the right place with the subject it wants to deal with, albeit with a mild case of cardiac arrhythmia – perhaps a little shock is in order to set its pace back in order?... full review

So-So, by Shrishti Nagi, : ...The court scenes, which were supposed to be the highlight of the film, take away the sheen of an otherwise watchable film.... full review

So-So, by Troy Ribeiro, Sify Movies : ...Overall, despite excellent production values, the film does not cut the mark of distinction.... full review

So-So, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...With a tighter runtime and more focus on the crux of the story, this social drama had the potential to shine bright. The cinematography by Anshuman Mahaley manages to capture the beauty of Uttarakhand’s hills very well. The movie also has a parallel track of two characters named Vikas and Kalyan, narrating the story, but the metaphor doesn’t quite click. BGMC loses power under the load of its heavy-duty screenplay.... full review

So-So, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...We keep hearing about the electrification of India’s remote villages, but do we actually know how frequently rural households experience a single evening that isn’t plunged into absolute darkness by power cuts? Watch and find out.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shaheen Irani, Deccan Chronicle : ...To sum it up, Shahid is the gravy of a spicy misal while Shraddha, Yami, Divyendu and other actors are just the toppings which make it delicious when added in lesser quantity.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...This is just shabby filmmaking all around. It goes to show that today’s producers don’t care for the craft either, as long as there’s a “message,” a digital revolution (you know how most new-age filmmakers depict the power of the internet – a video goes viral, and the nation and news channels react in phases?) and a rousing monologue. So what if a few thousand screens squeeze the region’s power stations dry to broadcast this three-hour-long exercise of crippling nobility? It’s the thought that counts.... full review

Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The same sharpness of purpose cannot be felt in the characterisations or the narrative assay though. Singh appears to have lost interest midway through this film and it shows. The unbearably long runtime (at close to 3 hours) also takes its toll on the likeability of this enterprise. After a point, even the fairly amiable actors fail to enthuse. Their every dialogue sounds overbearing and their actions, totally passé. It’s a pity that Shree Narayan Singh did not give up editing rights to a circumspect, far more refined editor. By wielding the scissors himself, he has put paid to any interest in this loud, unpalatable attempt at social activism.... full review

Thumbs down, by T J Reddy, : ...Divyendu Sharma looks as defeated as the audience in every scene he is in, and the music scoring his journey does him no favours. The SAD music plays over his plights, the PEPPY music plays over SK's antics, and everything in between plays well before a scene conveys its intended message to the audience. The locales of Uttarakhand look gorgeous, though. We've decided where to embark on our next vacation.... full review

Thumbs down, by Charu Thakur, india today : ...Talking about performances, Shahid Kapoor is the only saving grace in this otherwise dull social drama. The 37-year-old actor does go overboard at times during the so-called funny scenes, but he manages to keep the hinterland flavour intact with his act. Shraddha, on the other hand, still needs to go a long way as far as her acting skills are concerned. Divyendu manages to win himself a few glances.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Shahid has a sense of coming timing, Shraddha is occasionally fetching and Divyendu is steady, but the film tries to pack in more than it can comfortably hold. The slippages stick out in spite of the fact that Batti Gul Meter Chalu makes the right noises for the most part. If only it took less time and fewer detours to get to the point, it might have dodged its frequent blackouts.... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...Shraddha Kapoor promises us that she'll tell us why she wears a saree to court, but Shahid Kapoor walks off in the end without wanting the answer. And we are so fed up as audience and so relieved that the three hour long ruining of a good idea is over, we too leave without caring about the answer.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...The actor gives his all to the part, smoothly swinging between the stand-up and speech-y tone of its courtroom scenes. Unfortunately, his comic ease and contagious energy are not enough to brighten up this dim-witted slog.... full review

Thumbs down, by SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR, Reuters : ...If you really want to watch a film about how an inflated electricity bill can play havoc with the life of a common man, watch Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar’s delightful “Ek Cup Chya” instead. It makes the same point in a much more subtle and effective way.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Buried beneath the melodrama, grandstanding and quick-fix approach is the very real issue faced by millions of Indians. Sushil articulates the problem only at the very end: too many Indians still don’t have access to regular electricity despite the tall claims of governments. But the solution to this problem isn’t to be found in Batti Gul Meter Chalu, which works neither as a social issue film nor a triangular romance.... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Despite belonging to the region I must confess that I haven’t heard so many “thehra” and “bal” in a lifetime as I have in 175 minutes of the film. Hammering it in to make things seem more rooted? The forced tone, then actually ends up making highly annoying caricatures of the cast.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 0 yays 2 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Aansh Gujral

So-So, by Fan

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One lip-to-lip.
  • Concept: A fight for a basic right in the middle of a love triangle.
  • General Look and Feel: No glitz or glamour, set in Hrishikesh

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (3)

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The disconnect between the title and the contents of the movie is enormous. Often such disconnect can have significant impact on the earnings of the film. A name like Batti Gul … can attract younger audience hoping to find some masti and would end up disappointed with the serious drama. On the other hand, audiences looking for serious drama might stay away thinking this is another comic caper type of film.

The above short introductory paragraph would have made it clear that we are not into a nonsensical comic caper, even though it has its nonsensical fare to start with. The film takes a contemporary subject, which over the 7 decades of freedom the Indians have ignored under “what can we expect from utilities company”, and transforms it into a basic rights issue. It speaks volumes of the shift in mindset and the enormous expectations that everyone has from the current government of India. Earlier such subjects were ignored by the masses as nothing can happen, and now with the government leading and showing how things can be improved the expectations get so high that we expect miracles overnight in the name of progress and welfare. Something for which we didn’t bother to agitate over 70 years of mis-governance now becomes an absolute priority of everyone. I agree that it should be an absolute priority, but I would have preferred setting the context correctly by stating that over 70 years we were complacent about such matters.

Coming to the treatment of the film, it is a straight forward film. All twists, if any, were very easy to predict. The reveal (notice the lack of adjective BIG) of a twist too was anticipated by yours truly and did not give any surprise element. The courtroom drama, reminding from time to time about Jolly LLB, was also too much drama and less seriousness – I don’t think any Indian court (or abroad) would tolerate such tom foolery. Despite all this the film remains watchable, which is a big plus. The dialogues, even though very filmy, come through nicely. Performance wise the top 3 billed performers do a good job. Shahid Kapoor reminds once again as to what a fine actor he is, even though once again his film might not come out on top in the commercial race. Divyendu Sharma chips in with a very good performance and Shraddha Kapoor too is fine. Although I did find it funny to see her dressed in modern clothes in the first half and draped in shawls in the second half. Very stereotypical.

I do empathize with the topic on hand, although I feel that in real life it is a big hurdle to fight for such causes.

Best Movie of Shahid Kapoor

Aansh Gujral

The Trailer was intresting I Loved Shraddha Kapoor look. The Songs are Mindblowing dekhte dekhte & Gold Tamba are The highlits i watched the video on

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