|Produced by||Darshan Rohira|
& Rajpal Yadav
|Music by||Uttank Vora|
|Editing by||N. Gopalakrishnan
|Distributed by||Sahara One Media And Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||10 March 2006|
|Running time||160 min.|
|Budget||Rs. 60 million (about $1.2 million US)|
The film was rated poorly by most reviewers, but was a surprise hit among cinema-goers.
Tagline: Kiski lottery lag gayi? (Who has won the lottery?)
The film takes place in the impoverished village of Laholi, where, following past droughts, most of the villagers' possessions are mortgaged to the local Thakurani Karamkali (Sudha Chandran). One of the few entertainments the villagers can afford is the lottery, Malaamal Weekly (Malaamal is Hindi for 'rich').
Lilaram (Paresh Rawal) is the only educated man in the village, and has the job of intermediary between the lottery organisation and the village, for which he receives only a commission whenever a villager wins; thus he has a relatively good but volatile income. One day he reads the winning lottery numbers and realises that one of the tickets has won the top prize of one crore (about $220,000, a relative fortune in rural India). He devises a plan to obtain the winning ticket and present it to the commission as his own. He hosts a dinner (mortgaging his wife's beloved pet goat to the Thakur's wife to pay for it) and invites all the villagers who play the lottery, but the man he is looking for does not turn up. By elimination he deduces that the winner is Anthony(Innocent(actor)), the town drunk, and reasons that he didn't turn up because he knew that he had won the top prize. Hoping to at least extract his commission, he goes to Anthony's house, and finds him dead, the winning ticket clutched in his hand and a happy expression on his face.
Lilaram attempts to pry the ticket from Anthony's fingers, but is thwarted by Anthony's body going into rigor mortis. Lilaram eventually succeeds in freeing it with the aid of a knife; at this point Ballu (Om Puri), the local dairy farmer, enters the house and discovers him standing over Anthony's corpse with what appears to be the murder weapon in his hand. Lilaram tells Ballu the truth and convinces him to remain silent in exchange for sharing the lottery winnings between them.
Unfortunately for them, before dying Anthony managed to call the lottery commission and give his name and address, as well as his sister and several people to whom he owed money in order to tell them of his good fortune. The secret soon becomes impossible to keep, and Lilaram must figure out how to fool the lottery inspector (Arbaaz Khan), who is on his way to the village to interview Anthony.
The Hindustan Times was broadly positive about the movie, with two separate reviewers awarding the film two and three stars but lauding "the sheer pleasure" of Rawal and Puri's comic performances. Most reviewers, however, have been more negative. The BBC gave the film two out of five stars, citing a "weak script" and saying that the humour of Waking Ned had been "lost in translation". Molodezhnaja.ch concurred, repeatedly complaining that the film was too long, with only one song and the rest consisting of "repetitive scenes, long, no, endless dialogue and a poor finale". giving it 2.5 stars on the basis of "a few laughs and solid casting". It did at least give the single song credit for "breaking up the otherwise monotonous events"; rediff.com described it as "the worst Bollywood song ever" in addition to summing the film up as "simply pathetic".
Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a surprise success at the box office. It's basically a film for the "aam janta" (common people) would enjoy due to its hilarity. Reviewers would pan the movie as "bad" due to their mindset as the "reviewer" and not watching it with the "common man" mindset. As of April, the film was the top grosser in Delhi and has made Rs. 120 million (about $2.6 million) overall. Priyadarshan had previously shrugged off the poor reviews, claiming "My films have never been given good reviews in Mumbai. I'd get seriously worried about my films the day they're reviewed favourably".