Anupam Kher plays the wronged Everyman in Ravindra Gautam’s Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami, a film meant to be a political satire. His character Purushottam Joshi is a municipal worker, a fumigator, known for his honesty. A philanthropist with small means, his two sons, Subhash (Divyendu Sharma) and Shekhar (Manu Rishi Chadha), are his diametrical opposites. They work as petty goons for the political establishment, and are cynical of their father’s uprightness and inability to make money for the family.

The story by Rahil Qazi has the unidimensional “good versus bad" theme—commonly spun for high-voltage Hindi melodramas. The director also exploits another common theme in our films: parental love and duty. These are foolproof subjects as far as mass Indian sentiments go. An overstretched screenplay that drags the drama longer than the scope of the story ensures the plot has tedious and schlocky sequences. So even with the earnest intention of showing the tribulations of the common man as opposed to the wiles of those in power, Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami becomes a travesty.

A new boss unfairly sacks Purushottam on the last day of his career at the municipality. He returns a devastated man. His sons can’t save him, as he fasts to death. His last wish is to get the state honour of a salute by 21 canons. With help from Tanya (Aditi Sharma), the fiancée of the younger son Subhash, the sons take their father’s body to the chief minister’s bungalow. The day that Purushottam dies, the chief minister of the state (Rajesh Sharma) also succumbs to a heart attack. The last hour of the film throws in implausible impediments to the sons replacing the chief minister’s corpse with their father’s so that his last wish is fulfilled.

Kher leads a cast that drums up the melodrama quite effortlessly, as the film requires. But despite the best of intentions, Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami is a tiresome film and at least half an hour longer than it should have been.

Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami released in theatres on Friday.