There are city-level elections in India, known as Municipal Corporation elections, through which people are elected as Ward Councilors or corporators, and this is important because, in the new film Dry Day, a man named Gannu desperately wants to stand in the elections to become a corporator. Dry Day is his story about how he treads the righteous path even though he doesn’t exactly know what it is. There is surely more to the film than that, but ultimately, he remains the protagonist, and the rest of the film revolves around his issues with alcoholism and his topsy-turvy journey into politics.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Gannu dreams of becoming a big-shot politician and of initiation into the bad world of politics by securing the position of corporator. There is one big problem, though. He is a local goon, and he needs the help of Dauji, his late father’s elder brother, who is a politician with some influence. Gannu sees him as the only man who can make him a corporator. The other problem is that Gannu has not yet matured, even after four years of marriage. Nirmala, his wife, is an educated woman who curses herself for having married a loafer. The punishment she gives him and herself is that she resolves to not have a baby unless Gannu makes something of himself. Nirmala loves Gannu, though, and slips up on her vow and becomes pregnant. Now threatening to abort the baby, she hopes that it will motivate Gannu to leave his gang and become responsible. Gannu becomes hopeful when Dauji becomes elated hearing that Nirmala is pregnant and promises Gannu a candidacy for the Municipal Corporation election, but Gannu messes everything up when he engages in a brawl with Satto, the son of a powerful politician who was eyeing the same position himself.
Why Did Gannu Go To Delhi?
Dauji’s guru mantra regarding politics was that ‘image’ was everything. He was referring to social perception, and he used himself as an example. Dauji was a respectable man who worked for the people, and hence his image was that of a hero. Gannu had the image of a goon who did not spare Satto, whose father threatened to punish Dauji for Gannu’s mistakes. Gannu was desperate. He was neither getting any respect from Nirmala, who was threatening to abort the baby, nor from society. His good-for-nothing friends were drunkards themselves, and he was getting no motivation from them at all. They distracted him the moment he decided to do something productive. As a consequence of the brawl, Dauji, who had initially agreed to Gannu’s candidacy, rejected him and chose Satto instead. Dauji had pressure from above, and Gannu had proved yet again that even after all the mantras, at his core, he was a loafer with no sense of politics. Gannu tried to figure out what Dauji meant by ‘image’ and Maddi, one of his friends, showed him a newsreel on television where Dauji was seen clicking photographs with a famous politician, Dayalji, and supporting him in his hunger strike for social change. Maddi and others convinced Gannu that this was Dauji’s tactic for building a good image in society, and Gannu should do the same. Gannu took it to heart and decided to visit Dayalji and click a photo with him. The strike was happening in Delhi, and hence Gannu took his team of drunkards and went to Delhi. He made too many mistakes, however. One, he stole a police car to go to Delhi as he had no gas on his own, and secondly, one of the goons, who was so loyal to Gannu, wanted to kidnap Dayalji just to have Gannu click a photo with the politician.
Why Did Gannu Decide To Go On A Hunger Strike?
Naturally, Gannu and the gang were arrested, and Dauji was left more embarrassed than ever. The bigger problem for Gannu was that he had lied to Nirmala by concealing that he had lost all hopes for a candidacy. If she came to know about it, she was liable to abort the baby. The worst fears became a reality for Gannu when Satto, freshly discharged from the hospital, came to Gannu’s doorstep and revealed to Nirmala that Gannu had been imprisoned in Delhi and had lost his candidature long before that. Satto asked for her vote in the coming elections, and things between Gannu and Nirmala deteriorated. Gannu had fallen to the lowest depths in front of Nirmala, and he had to do something drastic to show that he could change. If Dauji was clicking photos with Dayalji, the only way to win the election independently without joining Dauji was to become a ‘Dayalji’ himself. Thai was the genius plan Gannu came up with, and he decided to hold a hunger strike in his area, attracting the media to his ‘cause’.
How Did Gannu Defeat Dauji?
Gannu wasn’t prepared for the strike, and it was all a farce anyway. He had no ‘cause’ for his hunger strike. There was nothing he was fighting against. His plan was to gain popularity so that he could get all the votes without Dauji’s support. Gannu did contact Dauji’s assistant, Balwant, to get some funding for his strike, and Balwant supported him because he wasn’t too sure of Satto’s loyalty. Gannu contacted his teacher father-in-law to support him in announcing his cause. When the father-in-law came to know he had no cause, he gave them a time of one day to come up with something, but Gannu, being Gannu, drank himself to oblivion, and on the day of his first speech, he accidentally spoke out something that tugged at the hearts of all the women in the area.
Gannu, drunk and not fully in his senses, said that alcohol was a social evil that should be eradicated. Janki, wife of Chedilal, one of the worst drinkers in the area, was affected by listening to Gannu’s cause. There were many women like Janki who were affected by their husbands’ alcoholism, and they started to come to support Gannu in his hunger strike. But Maddi and other men of the area were quite repulsed by the thought of Gannu speaking against alcohol consumption, and they left him high and dry.
The unique hunger strike, which was being supported only by the women of the area, garnered the attention of the local media, and news reached Dauji. He came to know that Gannu had received initial help from Balwant, and now Gannu couldn’t be harmed easily. He had the nation’s eyes on him. Dauji was a shrewd customer, and he planned to send Satto as an enemy who had a change of heart and who wanted to join Gannu in his cause. Satto was sent with the sole purpose of making Gannu taste alcohol again and then photograph him. That way, his whole ‘image’ as Gannu, the sinner-turned-saint, could be tarnished. But Gannu had learned his lesson, and he had become a little shrewd himself. He had already figured out why Satto had joined him, and he exposed him instead. With the slogans of ‘Gannu the Great,’ women and other men who supported him in his cause marched forth to sign the necessary documents to contest the upcoming elections. But the police arrived and took him away on charges of inciting violence. This was a clear tactic by Dauji to make him stop contesting the elections. Janki, who was left traumatized by Gannu’s arrest, tried to self-immolate and was badly burned. She was fighting for her life in the hospital. Dauji used her state to arm-twist Gannu into withdrawing from the elections.
Gannu was on the backfoot but was not defeated. He came up with a plan to expose Dauji. This time the event was Dauji’s speech in front of the public, and Gannu used a reporter’s recorder to capture the truth. His plan was simple. Gannu admitted his mistake in front of everyone, saying that his strike against alcohol was bad for the economy of the country. But he went further to declare that Dauji would drink himself to death if need be to reverse whatever harm Gannu had done. Dauji couldn’t restrain himself and called Gannu aside and told him to stop his clever banter; otherwise, Dauji would burn Janki to death, and with the police in his pocket, Gannu would be put in jail for the charge of abetment to suicide. Gannu had recorded all this and played it in front of the people who were going to vote for Satto, as he was the candidate with Dauji’s support. The people saw what a monster Dauji was, and his ‘image’ was shattered, and he was blacklisted from his party. Gannu now sat in the hearts of the people who was seen as someone who would go against his family, if need be, to protect the rights of the people and bring them on the right track. He became the poster boy for the liquor ban bill that was promised by the state’s chief minister. Gannu won the election, became a corporator and later had a daughter. Finally, his fear that his daughter would not respect him was gone, as he truly felt like he had done something good for the people.