Paresh Mokashi made an incredible debut with Harishchandrachi Factory (2009), which also became India’s official entry to the Oscars. He followed up with the impressive Elizabeth Ekadashi (2014). Chi Va Chi Sau Ka, his latest effort, is his first film in a modern urban setting. The film has its moments that make it worth watching at least once.
Chi Va Chi Sau Ka is the love story of two strangers, Savitri aka Savi (Mrinmayee Godbole) and Satyaprakash aka Satya (Lalit Prabhakar). Both have certain lifestyle quirks that others find weird. Savi, a veterinarian, is a vegan. In fact, she hates non-vegetarians. Satya, who runs a solar business, worships science and hates it when anyone drops a gadget. He is also fanatical about conserving water. However, he relishes non-vegetarian food.
The two come face-to-face when their families decide to get them married. As Savi doesn’t know Satya, she suggests that they live together for a while, without physical intimacy, before deciding whether to marry. After much hue and cry, the idea gets the go-ahead from the elders. But can the opposites survive each other?
Given the build-up, one can easily predict a light-hearted romantic comedy from miles away. It generally follows the same pattern — two people meet, fall in love, fall apart and then reunite. Mokashi does, however, make the predictability enjoyable to an extent.
The ideologies of the lead characters are interesting and amusing. Savi only rides in autorickshaws driven by vegetarian drivers. Satya devises creative ways to stop water wastage. For example, his shower stops after 120 seconds, and he wears a shirt four times before sending it to the laundry. Although these antics appear weird, there is a certain cuteness to them. And just as in Mokashi's previous films, the humour quotient is high.
A surprise package is the subtle yet powerful manner in which gender stereotypes are smashed. Whenever Satya gets into trouble, it is Savi who rescues him. She also defeats him at kung-fu. And as the two of them can’t sleep on the same bed — no physical intimacy, remember? — it is Savi who sleeps on the floor.
Unfortunately, an over-the-top approach stops the film from leaving a positive impact. In fact, on a few occasions, the loudness gets irritating, particularly at the beginning and the end. You can still forgive the initial loudness because it gets you involved in the proceedings. But the loudness at the end simply ruins the climax. And the final incident is just too convenient.
Music plays an important role in any rom com. The film has only two songs by Narendra Bhide — the title track and ‘Mann He’. Both serve the purpose. Coming to the technical aspects, the production design is good while the cinematographer has given a fresh, colourful feel to the visuals.
The casting of Lalit Prabhakar and Mrinmayee Godbole appears right. The two share good chemistry and appear comfortable together on screen. Prabhakar makes a confident debut. He fits the character and displays good acting chops. After Rajwade And Sons (2015), Godbole impresses us once again. She portrays the right fearlessness, which was vital for her character.
Pushkar Lonarkar, the child artiste who plays Savi’s brother, has terrific comic timing. Purnima Talwalkar, too, is hilarious as Savi’s mother. Jyoti Subhash, as Satya’s devil-may-care grandmother, stands out with a lovable act. The film has able performances from Sharmishtha Raut, Supriya Pathare, Pradeep Joshi and Sunil Abhyankar. Bharat Ganeshpure is the narrator, but there was no need for his role. His antics appear immature at times.
Overall, Chi Va Chi Sau Ka is a decent family entertainer. It is a relief that after a long wait Marathi cinema has produced a film that can be seen at least once.
Reviewed by Keyur Seta