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Rajma Chawal review: With the right ingredients, this dish provides a wholesome entertainment

Release Date: 30 Oct 2018

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Keyur Seta

Unlike the many films that look at the serious side of the father-son relationship, Yadav's exploration is riddled with humour.

Hindi cinema has seen quite a few films based on localities or streets. Few example, 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), 15 Park Avenue (2005), Dilli 6 (2009), Bhindi Bazaar Inc (2011), and so on. While some of these haven’t worked, some made even those alien to the spaces relate to it.

Director Leena Yadav’s Rajma Chawal portrays old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk in such a way that you will fall in love with the locality even if you have never been there (like this writer).

Rajma Chawal refers to the simple lifestyle of old Delhi. Raj Mathur (Rishi Kapoor), who has been living in south Delhi since years, decides to relocate to his old Chandni Chowk house. This upsets his son Kabir (Anirudh Tanwar) as it takes him far from his old friends and members of his musical group. Subsequently, Kabir's dislike for his father just increases and he starts missing his deceased mother all the more.

On suggestions from friends, Raj decides to embrace new technology and starts using Facebook in order to improve ties with his son. Kabir, however, declines his father’s friend request. One of Raj’s friends hands him pictures of a random girl (Amyra Dastur) and insists him to start a fake profile in the name of Tara in order to start conversing with Kabir.

So, Raj and Kabir start chatting regularly with the latter being unaware that it is his father on the other end. What happens when Kabir suddenly meets the girl in the picture, whose real name is Seher?

Unlike the many films that look at the serious side of the father-son relationship, Yadav's exploration is riddled with humour.

The idea of a father creating a fake Facebook profile of a girl just to chat with his son is unique and brings in a constant dose of humour. The supporting cast, too, play a major role in providing entertainment. The setting and the characters remind you of the Aanand L Rai world created in north India. However, this is not to say that Rajma Chawal is similar to any of his films. Chandni Chowk, too, is one of the characters of the film.

One would expect a film on the troubled relationship between a father and son will inevitably veer towards being an emotional affair. But here that is not the case. The problem here, however, is the creative liberties taken by the filmmaker and few incidents that conveniently become a part of the plot.

Even though it explores old Delhi and the father-son relationship, Rajma Chawal remains a musical film at heart. The song that stays with you the most is ‘Dil Mera Chandni Chowk Hai’.

The character of the father is tailor-made for Rishi Kapoor. The veteran actor is flawless as he goes about experiencing different emotions of an ageing father. Newcomer Anirudh Tanwar is a good find and succeeds in displaying the right amount of vulnerability. There is some scope of improvement though, especially when it comes to emoting while singing.

As Seher, this is the meatiest character Amyra Dastur has gotten a chance to play in Hindi cinema so far. She displays the right attitude as a street-smart modern girl from Delhi. Aparshakti Khurana has once again proved his remarkable talent in a supporting role. His character is both spoilt and helpless.

Diksha Juneja proves herself to be a promising actress who deserves more such chances. Jitendra Shastri as a poor artist who joins the musical group is gives a memorable act too.

Overall, this Rajma Chawal will suit your palate, even if you are not a big fan of the dish.

Rajma Chawal was screened at the 20th Mumbai Film Festival on 30 October 2018.

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