Posted by: kcgadiyar | July 6, 2011

Clerk – Movie recap and review part 1

If you have been on the internet for any amount of time, you have probably stumbled onto this video which as it says so clearly is “The most hilarious scene in Indian Cinema”.

Here is a fun thing to do in case you haven’t seen this video before, pause the video at 0:47 (i.e. 47 seconds in) once Manoj Kumar says “Mein aate hue Battery ke cell le aaya hoon” and do a thought experiment. Using the battery cells how can Manoj Kumar cure his father and make him recover from a heart attack? I guarantee that even your most out-there theories will pale in comparison to what actually happens.

The scene may be one of the most hilarious ones but not much else seems to be known about the movie. Even the IMDB page has a plot synopsis which ends as follows (and i kid you not): “Balram and his girlfriend rob the Express Bank; Ram finds out how Rukmani is earning money;Tulsi gets raped by Dalbeer; while Pooja gets sexually molested by General Jindal.

The movie has 5 reviews on imdb and none of them actually tell us what the movie is about or explain why it is so “great”. So after searching around a lot, i finally managed to find and watch the whole movie, and trust me, this is one movie you WILL want to watch. Words do not do this movie justice. I will try my best to explain the movie, but trust me – this one is well worth your time.

The movie starts with, well, Manoj Kumar (who else?) named Bharat (what else?) reaching office before time and chastising others for being 10 minutes late. His office is supposed to be the Defense Ministry, but with just one boss and 3 employees present, i doubt it (although this would explain a lot about the defense scams which take place, not enough checks present due to lack of staff).

Anita Raj plays Pooja, his coworker who loves him but Bharat refuses to reciprocate. His boss is played by Satish Shah who seems to be the only person in this movie who knows exactly the type of movie he is in and hams it to glory all the while looking like he is having the time of his life. We are also introduced to the plot point of a file from “Kapoor and Company” which the boss wants our Clerk to bury because he did not get kickbacks, of course our hero is honesty personified so he refuses. The boss admonishes Bharat at every turn and this leads us to our title sequence:

The title song goes "Main Keelarrrkkkkkk hoon" - seriously.

The title sequence is immediately followed by Manoj Kumar reaching home and him and his brother discussing how poor they are.

We are so poor, we can only be seen through holes in our khatiya

This then dovetails into THE scene. Yes, the heart attack scene comes 9 minutes into the movie. I know what you are thinking, how can the rest of the movie follow this highpoint. Trust me, somehow it does.

A quick recap of the problems Bharat and his family are facing:

  • Dying father
  • Brother who has lost his leg and burnt his face when in the military
  • Brother suspects that his wife works as a prostitute (this plot thread takes longer to resolve than it should)
  • The ancestral land has been mortgaged to pay for the education of Bharat and his siblings
  • The family has no money to pay fees (both Doctor’s fees and college fees)
  • Bharat having problems at work
  • No food to eat (in one of the scenes, Bharat’s boss tells him that he takes long lunch breaks and Bharat replies that lunch breaks are only taken by people who have lunches to eat. Again, i am not kidding)

So, in short, this family is screwed badly.

Bharat gets a call from his College girlfriend Sneh (played by Rekha) who is now married to Mr.Vijay Kapoor (Shashi Kapoor) whose file is the same one the boss doesn’t want passed. Bharat, Vijay and Sneh were friends in college and Vijay stole Sneh from Bharat. Vijay delivers a speech about how Bharat is incorruptible and how he wants to corrupt him. So Sneh volunteers to corrupt Bharat *evil laugh*

We then see a smoking scene which defies all description (trust me, no amount of description will EVER do the scene justice, it just needs to be watched) followed by Sneh offering Bharat a ride home and inviting him to their college annual day which happens to be that same evening. Bharat crushes his cigarette and winces, because his chappal has a hole and the cigarette burnt him through that hole

Thought i was kidding, didn't you?

We also get flashbacks to their college days where we see a 50+ year old Manoj Kumar pretending to be a college student.

Yo dude, what's up?

Bharat then gets completely drunk (thanks to the watchman played by Prem Chopra) and reaches the college where Shashi Kapoor’s character is giving what seems like the chief guest’s speech. Bharat drunkenly gatecrashes and everyone seems to take it fine for some reason.

A drunk Manoj Kumar and an audience taking this very well

Through the power of plot contrivance (don’t ask) Shashi Kapoor and Rekha meet Satish Shah and offer him a suitcase full of money to pass their file through the system, and for plot convenience, Satish Shah leaves the suitcase on his desk for what seems like days. Oh yes, there is a patriotic song in between for some reason

Not exactly the song "Mere desh ki dharti"

Introducing another superfluous character, Sonu (Sonu Walia) who is Bharat’s brother’s girlfriend convinces Bharat’s brother to rob a bank to solve all his financial problems. She also wears jeans which are completely torn from the sides (i seriously have no idea if this was ever a fashion anywhere anytime)

What the?

So anyway, they rob the bank which leads to a Sonu Walia fight scene in which she trashes an eve-teaser (female empowerment FTW), of course the cop who comes after the fight tells her she should not dress like a slut (cancel the female empowerment statement from before). Through further plot contrivance (there is that word again) Bharat gets arrested for the crime and gives a powerful monologue in the lockup

Not exactly Sunny Deol, is it?

Moved by his monologue, Bharat’s brother confesses and is sent to jail. Bharat’s sister goes to a guy who says he can get her brother out of jail and then demands “compensation” in return.

Yup, this guy looks legit

Bharat is insulted about this at a society party involving his boss, Rekha, Shashi Kapoor, his boss’s boss and for some reason the watchman from his office and this leads us to our Interval.

In the second half - Manoj Kumar will kill all of them

So ends the most meandering first half of any movie ever. Trust me, i have omitted a lot of stuff in order to have this trainwreck make any kind of sense while reading.

Will Bharat get his revenge? Will the guy who raped his sister be brought to justice? Will the plot make the least bit of sense? Will i be able to finish the movie without killing myself?

Find out the answers to all this and more in the second part of this mega review and recap for Clerk.

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