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Chaarfutiya Chhokare review - Bag of cliches

Chaarfutiya Chhokare review - Bag of cliches

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 26 September 2014

Movie Title

Chaarfutiya Chhokare review - Bag of cliches

Director

Manish Harishankar

Star Cast

Soha Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain, Seema Biswas

A do-gooder Neha (Soha Ali Khan) arrives at a small Bihar village with a mission. Having collected the money for her dream project - starting a proper school for the village kids, she has arrived to start work on it. (Why this particular village is never explained.)

She meets the headmaster, taking a bath in the school compound, in his briefs. But that's not the only shock in store.

She's appalled at the way kids are treated in the school. She learns that the three kids who she had earlier met and who had shown her the way to school (the four feet-ers that have inspired the title), are actually wanted murderers. What surprises her more is that the school has little interest in rehabilitating these adolescents, choosing to view them as criminals like the rest of the village.

The story progresses as Neha meets the Education Minister (who confesses he is uneducated) to get her file cleared. The problem arises when a local ruffian (Zakir Hussain), who had encouraged the kids to turn criminals, gets involved in construction of the school. From then on, the film is just like any other crime film set in Bihar badlands.

There are the local baddies in gamchas, riding open jeeps with guns. There's a general air of lawlessness as the cops sip alcohol, in the police station.

The film takes a stand against child trafficking and talks about the rights of children, with the evocative message bacche bhi insaan hai (kids are humans too) at the beginning. But, it is nonchalant and matter-of-fact about child marriage, in fact showing one of the juvenile criminals (aged around 13), hunting for his child bride who was trafficked. Their marriage scene shows zero trauma on the children's faces, and chooses to showcase the underage bride and groom as smiling and happy to get married.

Indeed, it does great disservice to villagers choosing to put them in the buffoon, victim or criminal category.

The film that started off encouragingly, veers into total filmi space. In order to establish her heroism, you have scenes where the genteel US-returned Neha accompanies cops on a risky assignment to the red-light area. Otherwise, she exists in a vacuum and all we know about her is that she wants to celebrate her birthday with both her parents (who have separated) and can say dialogue like hinsa galat hai (violence is wrong) to a 13-year-old, with a straight face.

Often times, the film lacks conviction and is unconvincing. For example, an email saying, "I finally rescued the children" to her dad has none of the urgency and accomplishment of the job done. It could well have been a 'hey dad, I finally got my promotion ' mail.

Technically, the film has awful dubbing and sound design. Local folk songs are added in, with little effect. The dialogue does throw up a few interesting lines, but overall the effort is pedestrian.

Writer-director-editor Manish Harishankar?s intentions may be right, but the film turns out to be a bag of cliches, barely managing to involve the viewer.

Soha Ali Khan is the brightest spot in the movie, with her earnest performance. But she can do only so much to salvage the film. Ditto veteran actors Zakir Hussain, Seema Biswas and Mukesh Tiwari, and the adorable child actors. This could have been a better movie with more conviction and imagination.

Rating: 2.5 stars

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