Sanjay Athray aka 'Sanju' (Emraan Hashmi) is a master safe cracker who maintains a casual lifestyle with his wife Neetu (Vidya Balan). He meets two criminals, Pandit and Idris and they offer him a chance to assist a bank robbery. If the heist is successful, they will ensure that he never has to worry about money again, so he accepts the offer. The three thieves make off with 35 crore rupees. After the bank robbery, Pandit tells them that they'll meet after three months and then they'll spilt the money, so Pandit and Idris let Sanjay hid the money. After 3 months, Pandit and Idris discovers that Sanjay lost his memory. Pandit and Idris decide that they will stay at Sanjay and Neetu's house until Sanjay remembers where he hid the money and to make sure they're not cheated and they give Sanjay for one week time. Sanjay tries to remember where he hid the money.
When Sanjay learns that his college friend Uttam Nagpal (Parvin Dabas) has become an overnight millionaire, apparently by winning a lottery, he suspects Neetu of knowing the hiding place of the money and of conspiring with his friend. Uttam moves to London after being confronted about the money. Sanjay finds out that Neetu has purchased a one-way ticket for London.
An unknown person contacts Sanjay and urges him to divulge the location of the money. Under pressure, Pandit and Idris kidnap Neetu and ask Sanjay to meet them in a train station, on the third platform at 1:30am. When both Pandit and Idris confront Sanjay and demand the money, Sanjay claims that he doesn't even recognise the two.
When Sanjay tells them that Neetu knew where the money was, Idris begins to lose control. When he pulls his gun, he is shot by an unknown person and kills Pandit in a rage in the train. It turns out he was that unknown person who called Sanjay earlier and he originally devised the bank robbery plan and now wants his share. Sanjay tries to defend himself with his only weapon, a fork. After persistently questioning and trying to blackmail Sanjay, the unknown person shoots Neetu, hoping that the traumatic vision of his wife's suffering will make Sanjay reveal the truth. This fails, however, since Sanjay has in fact lost his memory. He searches Sanjay's pockets, only to find his second weapon, a banana. In retaliation he shoots Sanjay in the shoulder and leaves the train.
Sanjay's phone rings and he finds his mother on the line. Sanjay has completely forgotten his identity and doesn't recognise his mother, but she says she has a suitcase that Sanjay gave her to keep three months ago, and if he doesn't come soon, she'll give it to the junk dealer. It reveals that Sanjay's mother has the money. The unknown person overhears this and jumps on the train just as it's starting, but he slips on Sanjay's banana and impales his neck on Sanjay's fork. Sanjay, bereft, confused and tired, throws his phone out of the train while Neetu smiles. Sanjay has no idea what's going on, but the train goes on its way with the dead bodies of the unknown person, Pandit and Idris.Emraan Hashmi as Sanjay 'Sanju' Athray
Vidya Balan as Neetu Athray
Rajesh Sharma as Pandit
Namit Das as Idris
Parvin Dabas as Uttam Nagpal
The soundtrack of Ghanchakkar was composed by Amit Trivedi. The lyrics were written by Amitabh Bhattacharya.
All lyrics written by Amitabh Bhattacharya.
Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan worked hard to bring the film to a wider audience. The on-screen couple appeared on various television shows, including Dance India Dance, Chidiyaghar, India's Dancing Superstar and Comedy Nights with Kapil.
Wassupbollywood.com rated the movie 2/5, saying, "Ghanchakkar is a terribly executed film. Watch it to feel better in your college lecture or job this Monday."
Raja Sen of Rediff.com said that the film "stops being funny somewhere through the second half". The critic continued: "Vidya Balan, in particular, deserves to be singled out for applause simply because of her willingness as a leading lady to take on a role this farcical. One time watch only for Vidya Balan." He gave the film only 2 out of a possible 5 stars.
However, Pakistani critic Mohammad Kamran Jawaid from the Dawn newspaper gave Ghanchakkar a positive review, stating that Vidya Balan "gets the short end of the stick" and is "a few hundred miles away from any original appeal". He notes that the film's "big reveal" is hardly a revelation. And as frightening as the hoodlums want themselves to appear, their sense of menace never surfaces the way it ought to. Also, their good-cop, bad-cop attitude gets old fast, and we never get to know much about them. However, these minor grumbles are just that – minor grumbles".
The film had an average opening, achieving an occupancy rate of 40–50% at morning and afternoon screenings. At evening and late-night screenings, it reached a higher occupancy rate of 55–60%. On release, the first day's box office earnings were Rs 72 million, grossing Rs 75.5 million on the second day. Ghanchakkar's opening weekend generated 227.5 million, beating Ek Thi Daayan's weekend sales of 180 million at the domestic box office. The film made around Rs 30 million on its first Monday, making an overall Rs 260 million in 4 days. On Tuesday it collected another Rs 22.5 million, making a total of Rs 280 million. It grossed Rs 380 million in its first week.