It always feels good when you have worked extremely hard for several years, living frugally and saving every penny on all fronts, to finally wrap up paying a lot of money every month to a bank. And if you are doing all this because you actually borrowed money from that bank, people will even consider you normal. EMI is the story of 4 people who are of the opposite view - that paying the monthly installments after borrowing from a bank is optional. A true democracy, of course, respects such diversity of opinion and offers many platforms for intelligent debate, but the bank they've borrowed from is a little old-fashioned in its beliefs - and its recovery agency, in its methods.
Yes, EMI is a take on an issue that made the headlines last year - banks hiring goons to make defaulters cough up. Now there are two sides to every defaulter - and the goons beat up both, since it's hard to stay still without turning when you're getting beaten up. EMI however is an attempt to show that there are two sides to every goon who beats you up, too. Yes, we're sure you were dying to discover that. Here, then, is a whole movie dedicated to just that.
Ryan (Arjun Rampal) is a DJ who specializes in applying for credit cards and chucking them after the limit on them has been reached - his logic is that if he doesn't default, someone else will anyway. Anil (Ashish Chaudhary) and Gita (Neha Oberoi) are a working couple who've taken a personal loan, a home loan, a travel loan and a car loan. They'd have taken more, except that the amount has already reached the limit where the finance minister needs to personally assess the impact they're having on the national debt to GDP ratio, and mention them by name in the next year's annual economic survey.
Then there's Prerna (Urmila Matondkar), a widow who applies for a hefty personal loan to pay a don to get her husband's suicide reported as a murder by the cops so she can get his insurance money. The don unfortunately dies the day after she pays him the money (though not deliberately, of course), leaving her in some supreme problems.
And finally, there's Chandrakant (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), an old father who borrows heavily to get his son an expensive MBA from London, but whose son then decides to become a nature photographer. It's easy to say that he could have taken that decision before the expensive MBA, but how does it matter whether you decide to become a nature photographer before or after doing an expensive MBA?
Anyway, all four start to default on the EMIs due to the bank, and soon they've been defaulting for so long, they decide it would look awkward if they suddenly started paying the EMIs, and so continue to default just to ensure continuity. The hassled bank however passes their files to a recovery agency run by Sattar Bhai (Sanjay Dutt) and his band of roughnecks, whose methods, while questionable, could have been even more questionable.
Sattar however has a change of heart randomly - don't even ask how. Okay, ask. He wants to progress to becoming a politician from goon, and someone tells him for that he has to be a genuinely good person. We told you not to ask. The movie then shows how Sattar decides to help these defaulters to become capable of paying their EMIs instead of merely beating them up. Does he succeed? Does intelligence win over brute force? Does he find true love? Where the hell did that previous question come from? To find the answers to all these questions ...is not really worth it.
For, EMI is a confirmed disaster. Firstly, it is overkill to make a whole movie on a flimsy theme like people defaulting on loan installments. It's hardly a pervasive social reality that most will identify with, and the last time Bollywood made a movie on such a thin premise was ...oh, okay, last week.
Then, adding to the woes of EMI is a script stripped of all nutrition - the interval and the ending both happen when you are hardly expecting them, and the story in general is always playing catch-up with the duration of the film till then. The movie is a clear Lage Raho Munnabhai
wannabe, but the latter was all about a packed script. This one looks like a nursery rhyme in comparison.
Then, Sanjay Dutt, unarguably the main draw, isn't there in the first half at all, which takes its sweet time building characters and setting up the premise, and leaving you mostly untouched. Except, the interval seems to come so abruptly and early, you are wondering if they are just giving you the main points of the movie, and the rest is homework for you.
And finally, plenty of stuff is unconvincing and illogical - like we said, the whole conversion of Sanjay Dutt from goon to kind-hearted person, and his romance with Urmila. The climax is just a song (a good tune, though), and when you are expecting the film to continue after that, the credits start rolling.
The performances are all good, of course, like in all Bollywood movies, with Dutt, Vinay Pathak and Urmila standing out. The second half has some good comic lines and parts, with Pathak valiantly filling in for what Arshad Warsi would have fit best, and a song - the climax tune - is fairly decent.
EMI is an elementary movie that looks like it was made to finish making it. Unless you need to watch it just to finish watching it, stay well away.