The Telegraph
Saturday , February 23 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Zila Ghaziabad

Zila Ghaziabad, the village where 1980s Bollywood still lives. Here schoolmasters, police officers, goons and politicians wear Ray-Ban Aviators while women wear jabakusum oil. The villagers have, over the decades, become such marksmen that they shoot enemies just by taking aim in the rearview mirror. And unlike at Madame Tussauds, in Zila Ghaziabad there are walking-talking-dancing replicas of Salman Khan, Rajinikanth and Gabbar aplenty.

If Rajinikanth can stop a train by just looking at it, here Mahendra Fauji’s (Arshad Warsi) men simply park their cars at railway crossings. If Chulbul Pandey is famous for his sunglass jig, Fauji is famous for his peep-under-a-twirling-skirt dance. In short, director Anand Kumar (Delhii Heights and Jugaad) has licked clean a plate of leftover scenes from Dabangg and Gangs of Wasseypur to create a disaster of epic proportions, complete with a bunch of going-nowhere heroes, each trying to outdo the other with ineptitude.

In Zila Ghaziabad, everyone’s a hero, villain and everything in between. The story begins with politically-ambitious Chairmansaab (Paresh Rawal) trying to win a large, disputed property with a little help from his right-hand man: Fauji. Five minutes away from his haveli, schoolmaster Satbir Gujjar (Vivek Oberoi) is trying to teach a bunch of four-year-olds ahimsa. Each time Chairman’s men call on him, the bhola-bhala wears his superhero dress (Aviator sunglass!) and becomes Satbir Bhai.

But Chairman is not all rotten… he kicks his no-good bro-in-law Fakeera (Sunil Grover) all over the place. Now, Fakeera is always looking for ways to khallas Chairman and, er, marry his daughter Sanika (played by south Indian actress Charmy Kaur), who is obviously in love with Satbir. The khallas moment arrives when Chairman refuses Fauji Rs 20 lakh and thus unfolds Chapter 2 (thankfully, the last) in our village schoolmaster’s life.

After some dhishoom-dhishoom and the bumping off of Satbir’s roly-poly Army-enlisted brother (played by Chandrachur Singh, remember him?!), it’s time for our third hero to enter (51 minutes into the film) –– Inspector Pritam Singh Chauhan (Sanjay Dutt), complete with man boobs and love for 1990s songs from Saajan and Thanedaar. He has to stop Satbir, who has, by now, become Michael Corleone!

The director has tried his level best (and succeeded) to ensure the absence of a single hero or villain. And in that he must thank his, well, stellar cast! While a vengeful Vivek growls like a cat and moves like a duck (to Pritam’s jarring music), Arshad thinks he is Salman. And a balding and bloating Sanju Baba is caught in a time warp.

If the film is a reenactment of the gang wars that rocked Ghaziabad in the 1990s, then it has managed to draw fresh blood — its latest victims being the unfortunate few squirming in their plex seats.

An important lesson has been taught –– there are bad movies, ugly movies and then there is Zila Ghaziabad!

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