Mumbai, 06 Sep 2019 12:00 IST
The film starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor provides entertainment and a timely message.
The trailer of director Nitesh Tiwari's Chhichhore reminded us of a few Hindi films set in college campuses. The one it seemed to resemble the most was Mansoor Khan’s Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992) because of the college masti and sports rivalry between two groups of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’.
Although the film has some elements of the Aamir Khan-starrer, the basic plot for the most part turns out to be similar to Karan Johar’s college drama, Student Of The Year (2012).
The story of Chhichhore starts in 1992 when Anirudh aka Anni (Sushant Singh Rajput) gets admission in the most prestigious engineering college in Mumbai. He runs into some naughty seniors like Sexa (Varun Sharma), Acid (Navin Polishetty), Bevda (Saharsh Kumar Shukla) and Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin) in the hostel.
After some uncomfortable and scary situations with the seniors, Anni along with other juniors like Mummy (Tushar Pandey) develop a deep friendship with them. In the mean time, Anni falls in love with fellow student Maya (Shraddha Kapoor), one of the few girls in the college.
The hostel where they reside has a bad reputation as its inhabitants are nicknamed losers by Raggie (Prateik Babbar) and his friends, who belong to a more hep hostel. Anni and his friends get a chance to do away with their losers tag if they can defeat Raggie and his gang in the annual sports competition.
Circa 2019. Friends who were once inseparable are now not even in touch despite the availability of various new modes of communication. But the sudden critical condition of a character brings about an unplanned reunion years later in a hospital.
You won’t mind the similarity with Student Of The Year because the writing by Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra in a way repairs the 2012 movie and shows how such a plot is to be handled. Merging and linking two parallel stories by focusing on one tense event in both tracks is done in a masterful way. Hence, it won’t be an understatement to say that the screenplay of Chhichhore is good enough to make it to film school.
Tiwari left a huge mark with his handling of his previous film Dangal (2016), especially when it came to the wrestling scenes. He shows the same class here, this time with three or four sports. There comes a nail-biting moment when you dearly want something to happen and know it will, but you are taken by surprise. It becomes the moment of the film.
Tiwari has also extracted quality performances from all the main characters, both in their current and past avatars. Sushant Singh Rajput might not look like a college student, but this doesn’t hinder the film because his performance makes up for it. Shraddha Kapoor comes up with one of her finer performances.
But it is Varun Sharma as Sexa who delights you no end. He does remind you of his famous character Choocha from the Fukrey series but not completely. He shows his versatility while playing a middle-aged man.
Bhasin, Polishetty, Pandey, Shukla and the rest also come up with good performances. What works the best is that their bonding appears real both in 1992 and 2019.
However, as we have already mentioned, the college saga is only one part of the film. A major portion of the story deals with the bonding between a teenager who feels he is a failure in life and his parents who are estranged from each other. Getting this part right is the actual triumph of Chhichhore.
Apart from some similarities with films past, the one flaw remains seeing a group of people narrating stories to a critically ill patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital without the doctors having a problem. One might find some other minor flaws too. But as the film moves and entertains you in equal measure, you don’t really mind it.
So, instead of focusing on the flaws, you leave the hall with plenty of nostalgia and an important learning: how we all decide how to celebrate after winning a tough challenge but are never prepared to deal with failure.
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