Nitesh Tiwari — the man who gave us the power-packed wrestling tear-jerker Dangal in 2016 and followed it up writing the screenplay and dialogue for the spunky Bareilly Ki Barfi in 2017 — delivers on our Chhichhore expectations. The trailer may have been strictly average but the film is full of heart-warming, solemn and sincere moments sprinkled with healthy dollops of laugh-out-loud dialogues.
The Woods gives you five reasons to watch the film this weekend...
Anirudh a.k.a. Anni (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Maya (Shraddha Kapoor) find themselves at the hospital because their son Raghav has tried to commit suicide after not getting through India’s top engineering college, unlike his parents who were rank-holders. This leads to an unusual reunion where the old college gang assemble at the hospital one by one — Sexa (Varun Sharma), Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin), Acid (Naveen Polishetty), Mummy (Tushar Pandey) and Bevda (Saharsh Shukla). It’s the friendship of these six guys that’s extremely endearing to watch on screen, as each bring their unique characteristics and quirks to the table. The lovable Mummy who’s nicknamed such because he’s a mamma’s boy, the sharp-tongued Acid who can’t bear to finish a sentence without inserting the choicest of expletives, or the brooding super-senior Derek — they are misfits who simply fit well together.
The friendship is at the core of the film and you’d end up reconnecting with your old college pals, for sure, as the credits roll.
That first puppy college romance; once-dreaded seniors turning out to be lifelong buddies; the college canteen chai and pastry; the horrendous hostel mess food; the inter-college sports competitions — Chhichhore has it all. The film will take viewers down memory lane and make them smile. It’s tough to go wrong with nostalgia if you play your cards well and Tiwari — an IIT Bombay alumnus himself — succeeds to a large extent. Now this is no 3 Idiots but it’s close enough, for bringing out college nostalgia with sincerity and authenticity. Woh Din in Arijit Singh’s voice is the perfect icing on top.
The sporting spirit
Chhichhore is connected to Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and Student of the Year; all three films have students and sport as a core thread. Chhichhore has the six friends of Hostel 4 fighting hard to win GC a.k.a General Championship in a college, where 10 hostels compete with each other in 30 sporting events over two months. Their main aim is to wipe off the “Loser” tag for the always-last-every year Hostel 4. Sport helps you to root for the underdogs and it is a sure-shot success formula in most films (Dangal being a case in point). But this film has a twist there also, and an important message that touches your heart in the end.
The strongest point of the film are its dialogues that will leave you in stitches. We cannot get over the one where “freshie” Anni innocently asks the guy at the college mess: “Yeh aloo hai ya kaddoo?” as an unappetising gravy is being served. Without batting an eyelid, the guy replies with a smile: “Melody khao khud jan jao”. So relatable for all those people who have had the misfortune of staying at the college hostel, right?
Sexa gets the meatiest and funniest dialogues and Varun aces it with his signature dialogue delivery. Like the time he compares a pretty girl being spotted at an engineering college with the Halley’s Comet that is visible every 75 years!
The film’s narrative tracks — the past and the present — run parallel to each other but merge beautifully in the end. The narratives translate well onscreen thanks to the ageing of the lead characters. The extensive use of prosthetic makeup to make the characters look convincing reminded us of This Is Us, a show that follows the life a certain Pearson family. It’s good to see Indian cinema trying something new, something experimental. Gone are the days of showing characters ageing by drawing two distinct silver patches in front of their hair. Here’s to more relatable content.