Movie Review: Chhichhore

For most adults, the years spent in college are often considered to be the best part of their lives. It’s a time when the fear of the uncertain future always looms over the head but the joy of being with friends makes this period worth it. Nitesh Tiwari, after delivering the monstrous blockbuster DANGAL [2016], is back with CHHICHHORE, which focuses not on just the student part of the character’s lives but also on what happens when they have a reunion a couple of decades later. So does CHHICHHORE manage to give viewers an entertaining time and make them go down memory lane? Or does it fail to stir up any emotions whatsoever? Let’s analyse.

Movie Review Chhichhore

CHHICHHORE is the story of ‘loser’ friends trying to become winners and learning some important lessons on the way. Annirudh Pathak aka Anni (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a middle-aged man residing in Mumbai with his son Raghav (Mohammad Samad) after divorcing his wife Maya (Shraddha Kapoor). Raghav is under immense pressure as he has just given the entrance exams for engineering. Both his parents were rankers when they gave the entrance examination. As a result, Raghav is feeling the pressure tremendously. Anni however is confident that he’ll make it. Finally, the result is out and sadly, Raghav fails to make the cut. Scared that he’ll be labelled a loser all his life, he attempts to commit suicide by jumping from a high rise. He survives but the doctor treating him, Dr Kasbekar (Shishir Sharma) makes it clear that the chances of him recovering are slim. Anni is obviously heartbroken and with no option in hand, he decides to adopt a novel method to ensure that Raghav gets the will to live. He starts narrating him his story as an engineering student in Mumbai’s National College of Technology. He’s allotted a room in Hostel no 4 aka H4, considered to be the residence of the ‘Losers’. At first, Anni is flabbergasted with the kind of characters in H4. But slowly, he becomes good friends with some of them like Gurmeet Singh Dhillon aka Sexa (Varun Sharma), Acid (Navin Polishetty), Sundar aka Mummy (Tushar Pandey), Bevda (Saharsh Kumar Shukla) and Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin). The number of girls in engineering is negligible and the most popular among them is Maya (Shraddha Kapoor). Anni manages to woo her and they soon start dating. However, Anni and others are still called ‘Losers’ and there’s a reason for it. The General Championship aka GC is a sports tournament that takes place annually in the college. The students of H4 always lose miserably and are the last among the ten hostels. Hence, the ‘Loser’ tag. Raggie (Prateik Babbar) from H3 is a champion who wants all the winning students from other hostels to be in his hostel so that H3 can win the GC. He invites Anni, since the latter is a basketball champion. But Anni refuses, thereby earning the wrath of Raggie. Anni and others from H4 decide to shed the tag of ‘Loser’ once and for all by winning the H4. However, the road to the trophy is full of hurdles. Cut to present-day. Raghav’s condition stops deteriorating after listening to the story of the ‘Losers’ but there’s no improvement either. What happens next, in the flashback as well as in the present day, forms the rest of the film.

Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra's story is entertaining, moving and has potential. The film is more than what the promos indicate. Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra's screenplay doesn’t exploit the story to its full potential however. Sure they try their best and keep the narrative simplistic without complicating it. They also add humour in adequate doses to appeal to the masses. But it also is a bit superficial especially when it comes to the emotions part. A little more depth in terms of characters, their background etc. was required. Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra's dialogues are simple but funny and well-worded. One however wishes the writers had written some extremely funny liners for the slogan sequence. This is a scene that could have caused a riot but the end result is decent not extraordinary.

Nitesh Tiwari's direction is appropriate for most parts. He deserves praise for the way he goes back and forth with the present day and flashback scenes. Also, in the climax, three scenes are running parallel – one of the chess tournament, one of the relay and one of the basketball match. He merges them very well. On the flipside, he skips some of the details with regards to the characters’ lives and that hampers the impact. For instance, viewers never come to know properly what exactly went wrong between Anni and Maya that they had to divorce and why didn’t Maya take the custody of Raghav. Except Sexa and Mummy, none of the students’ parents are ever shown. As a result, we don’t know what kind of families they hail from. Not just that, even in present-day portions, except for Mummy and Sexa to an extent, the other characters’ lives are not explored at all. Mummy apparently flies from USA to be with Anni. How did he manage to do so that too immediately remains a question mark. Then there are scenes that are unconvincing like Raghav attentively listening to the story of the ‘Losers’ but at the same time, we are told that he is critical. Even when his health deteriorates in the pre-climax, he doesn’t look medically serious. The ‘Losers’ or Raggie are never really shown studying and we never come to know how they are faring in the exams. It seems like the reason they have taken admission in the college is simply to win the GC.

CHHICHHORE begins on a high note, which nicely depicts the kind of mischief happening in hostels as well as the enmity between H3 and H4. The movie then focuses on Raghav getting tensed over his result. The film drops a bit here but the shocking suicide sequence ups the interest. Soon the flashback portions commence and the interest in the film gets maintained. From here, the film is sans complaints as director Nitesh Tiwari uses the first hour to introduce the characters, the college setting and how much GC means to the students. In the second half, the college portions manage to entertain and even raise laughs. Anni’s idea of demotivating the rival teams psychologically is interesting and makes for fun watch. However, it also raises questions since the method is deemed to be too effective in even improving their game, which was very poor in the first place. How that happens is bewildering. The climax is based on an interesting idea of three tracks running simultaneously but goes on for too long. The basketball scenes especially go on and on. The end result of the GC might divide audiences with some not finding it acceptable. However, it is in sync with the film’s message.

Chhichhore | Public Review | FDFS | Sushant Singh Rajput | Shraddha Kapoor

Performances are exemplary by all. It’s great to see that not just the lead actor and actress but the others also get a big chance to shine. Sushant Singh Rajput plays the part with ease and is apt as Anni. He’s not playing the typical ‘hero’ as such and slips into the character and performs accordingly. In the older portions, he’s quite good and has modulated his voice a bit which is praiseworthy. Shraddha Kapoor lends able support. Her character sadly doesn’t have much to do after a point. The romantic track is very weak and doesn’t even get sufficient screen time. And she doesn’t look that old as compared to others. Varun Sharma is quite entertaining and will be loved by audiences. He was dull in films like ARJUN PATIALA and KHANDAANI SHAFAKHANA. But in CHHICHHORE, he seems to be in form. He also surprises in the entry scene of the older Sexa. Tahir Raj Bhasin looks dashing and performs very well. The pain and anger in his eyes comes out very well. Naveen Polishetty has a good screen presence and is lovely as the guy with the acidic tongue. Tushar Pandey is fine for the character he plays and adds humor to the proceedings. Saharsh Kumar Shukla has a very late entry but has a brilliant screen presence. In the finale especially, he has a major part to play. Mohammad Samad has his moments. Prateik Babbar leaves a mark as the baddie. Shishir Sharma, Sanjay Goradia (Mummy’s father), Rohit Chauhan (Chris Cross), Ranjan Raj (the underweight Abhimanyu Rathod aka Danda) and the actor playing the cook are fine.

Pritam's music is in sync with the film’s mood but won’t have a long shelf life. 'Fikar Not' is the best of the lot as it also reflects the film’s message. 'Control' comes next as the situation during which it’s played is funny. 'Woh Din' and 'Khairyat' fail to make a mark while 'Kal Ki Hi Baat Hai' is played just for a few seconds. Sameer Uddin's background score is subtle but makes an impact.

Amalendu Chaudhary's cinematography is appropriate. The hospital, hostel and sports scenes are well captured. Laxmi Keluskar's production design is good. Mukesh Chhabra's casting deserves praise as all actors fit the bill. The casting of Abhimanyu Rathod is quite nice. Sunil Rodrigues's action is not too gory obviously and works. Rohit Chaturvedi's costumes are authentic. The characters are even shown repeating their clothes in hostel scenes to keep the realism. Preetisheel Singh's prosthetics and character design is overall quite good. But in case of Shraddha Kapoor and Tushar Pandey, it’s not very convincing. Charu Shree Roy's editing is slick and the present-day and flashback portions are well woven in the narrative.

On the whole, CHHICHHORE is a decent entertainer that has its share of entertaining and touching scenes. At the box office, it will be liked by its target audience – the youth and the families. However it will require a positive word of mouth to sustain and excel.