Will make you revisit your college memories and your nearest cinemas
Stuck in life and looking for perspective? ‘Chhichhore’, the latest offering from director Nitesh Tiwari is a life lesson masquerading as a film, served with humour, entertainment and heart.
The story traces the strange reunion of seven friends from an engineering college, under unforeseen circumstances following a personal tragedy. The film runs on two parallel narratives, one, the fond memories of college days and two, the challenges of the competitive world we live in. The story is told through the perspectives of Anni , the good boy (Sushant Singh Rajput), Maya, the college sweetheart (Shraddha Kapoor), Derek, the stud of the campus (Tahir Raj Bhasin), Sexa, the friend who thrives on porn (Varun Sharma), Acid, the friend with a foul mouth(Naveen Polishetty), Mummy, the mumma’s boy (Tushar Pandey) and Bevda, the alcoholic genius (Saharsh Kumar Shukla).
Firstly, this is tremendous casting pulled off by Mukesh Chhabra. As viewers, each one of us will resonate with one of the characters. Written by Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra, the film is almost a biopic of its director. Tiwari, for those who do not know, was an engineering student in IIT Bombay. Though the name is changed, the film has been shot on the campus of the prestigious institution and as per interviews by the cast, the characters are all based on classmates and seniors, Tiwari has associated with in his term. That is evidence of why the film is all heart. This is the kind of film that sucks you into its world and is told with such simplicity, that you’re more than willing to overlook its obvious references to ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’ and ‘3 Idiots’. DOP Amalendu Chaudhary adds nostalgia in the sepia-toned flashback portions while offering us flattering views of the present day. Laxmi Keluskar’s production design is on-point especially in the campus portions. Charu Shree Roy’s edits brilliantly balance the parallel narratives in perfect sync. Pritam’s music effectively blends in with the narrative. Personally, the album would be my third favourite pick of the year after ‘Gully Boy’ and ‘Kabir Singh’.
But this is a film about performances. After ‘Sacred Games’ and ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Chhichhore’ continues the conversation around its characters. As Anni, Sushant wins you over with his boyish charm and his eventual maturity when shown aging. Shraddha is bright and beautiful as Maya turning into a spitting image of her mother in the older portions. Surprisingly, the film does draw her most competent performance, in recent times. Tahir as Derek is brooding, restrained and suave. But the film belongs to Varun, Naveen and Tushar. As Sexa, Acid and Mummy, the three add so much life and laughter in their bromance, you’d want to reach out and hug them. Varun, who’s often been criticized for choosing roles that replicate his ‘Choocha’ act from the ‘Fukrey’ franchise, does not let Sexa be reduced to a comic element merely added for laughs. He brings sensitivity and grit to the part too. Naveen, whom netizens would recollect from AIB videos, is relatable as Acid. His scenes with Tushar playing Mummy bring the house down. Saharsh as Bevda has a very limited screen presence but effective and moving, nonetheless.
As the movie plasters huge smiles across your faces in the end, viewers are gently and beautifully reminded why winning is not everything but wanting to win is. Go for it to find out why.