MUMBAI — Sajid Nadiadwala’s record has been reasonably good and uniform. But if he looks back at his productions 20 years down, this film will be one of those few he will be truly proud of making.
Nitesh Tiwari, that simple genius who helmed the 5-star “Chillar Party” and two more above-average movies, “Bhoothnath Returns” and “Dangal” (Hindi cinema’s highest-ever grosser), once again proves that he is a master craftsman and that the director matters most with this film, which like him, is simple and whose genius lies in that very fact.
A bunch of close friends who shared a hostel in a college, who are available for each other even decades down the line on just a call, have a reunion of sorts. They have been a bunch of losers as perceived by all, but are actually winners — all of them have made it big now as well, but that’s not why they are winners.
One of the few girls in that college, Maya (Shraddha Kapoor) has been a part of them as she loves Anirudh aka Ani (Sushant Singh Rajput). The two marry, have a son Raghav (Mohammad Samad) and then, on ego and other issues, separate, with Ani getting custody of the son.
The film begins with Raghav, acutely disturbed by the fact that he has failed the qualifying examination for college, attempting suicide. He survives, but is critical. The doctor (Shishir Sharma) tells his parents that he has no will to live, and on his mental state depends his survival. Ani takes his college album to him and tells him their own story, full of what the world perceives as losers, including him. Raghav listens, but believes his dad is spinning a yarn to make him feel better.
Helpless, Ani reaches out to his closest friends Sexa (Varun Sharma), Bevda (Saharsh Kumar Shukla), Acid (Naveen Polishetty), Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin) Mummy (Tushar Pandey). As one man, leaving all their lucrative work, they reach out to their friend and the strangest college reunion happens — in hospital. As the movie and their back story from college progresses, Raghav realizes his folly and gets back the will-power to live. And while nothing is spelt out, there is also the implication that Ani and Maya have realized the error of their ways and are together again.
Through this wonderfully human tale, which may be erroneously ascribed as inspired by past films like “Dil Chahta Hai” and “3 Idiots,” Tiwari and his team spin out a very, very heartwarming smallish film with a king-sized heart, emphasizing a few vital topical points: grades and competitiveness are not all-important, sincere efforts and chilled-out contentment differentiate a loser from a winner, and friendship is for life, about being available for each other at just a telephone call.
A highlight of the film is Mummy promising his son on phone the best bike even if he does not get top marks, as he had earlier laid as a precondition. Family, children and relationships are above all such things: another Tiwari homily. Then, of course, there is the GREAT truth that when a person has to recover from serious illness or trauma, his or her desire to live rises above medical science.
Yet another masterstroke from Tiwari and his co-writers is the way Ani and Maya are shown doing a rethink on their traumatized relationship. These and many other sequences are heart-tugging in this lovely film.
Pritam’s music is in sync, and special mention must be made of the end-credits song “Fikar Not”— audio-visually, it is probably among the best in the last 19 years from when end-credit videos are “in.”
Bosco and Ceasar deserve a strong pat, as do the director again, lyricist and composer.
Technically superb, the film boasts of all-round super performances, and we easily overlook the sometimes funny make-up of the artistes as their older avatars. Sushant Singh Rajput is extraordinary as the worried father and Shraddha Kapoor is surpassingly brilliant in her expressions and body language as the mother and separated wife. Her sequences with her husband and son and the scene where she confides her mistakes to her colleague show that the best of actors need great direction to rise beyond themselves.
I never thought that I would any more like Varun Sharma at comedy, but he emerges as a total delight. Once again, this demonstrates the role of a great director and writer in an actor’s career. Prateik is surprisingly likeable, too as the antagonist, especially in his last sequence. Tahir Raj Bhasin and Tushar Pandey are outstanding, Bhasin showing that there is much more to him than being evil. Saharsh Kumar Shukla as Bevda and Naveen Polishetty are also excellent, while Shishir Sharma portrays a doctor with immense sobriety and sincerity.
Don’t miss this film if you love fellow human beings, starting from family, and want to be loved, and also if you have had even a single friend in our life. There is a minor absurdity or two, but it becomes minor in the overall big picture (pun intended), so minor in fact that they even slip my mind while writing this review!
Nadiadwala Grandsons Entertainment and Fox Star Studios present ‘Chhichhore’
Produced by: Sajid Nadiadwala
Directed by: Nitesh Tiwari
Written by: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra
Starring: Shraddha Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput, Varun Sharma, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Prateik Babbar, Shishir Sharma, Tushar Pandey, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Naveen Polishetty, Adarsh Gautam, Sanjay Goradia, Abhilasha Patil and others.