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Saving Chintu review: Well-intentioned but far from effective

Release Date: 06 Mar 2020 / 15min


Cinestaan Rating

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Sonal Pandya

The short film, which is being screened at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, addresses the important issues of discrimination and prejudice but isn’t able to execute its vision well.

The short film Saving Chintu opens with a shot of one Dr Sanjay, played by Adil Hussain, on a crowded bus as he makes his way to a low-cost clinic. Within a few minutes, one can easily make out he is a caring and adept healer.

The narrative then shifts to a homosexual couple in the US, Sam (Sachin Bhatt) and Oliver (Edward Sonnenblick), who are preparing for a long journey to India. They are planning to adopt Chintu, a young boy with HIV.

Sam, who is originally from India, is nervous, but Oliver is excited. The reason for Sam’s nervousness becomes apparent once they are in India. They meet up with Sam’s long-time friend Mira (Dipannita Sharma) before they head to the orphanage.

As Sam meets the official in charge of Chintu’s case, Mr Mukesh (Sidharth Bhardwaj), it becomes clear that matter is complicated. Sam indicates that he is married to Mira in order to bring Chintu home, thus alienating Oliver.

Tushar Tyagi’s short addresses the discrimination and prejudices a gay couple face when it comes to adoptions. It also brings up the stigma surrounding HIV, and dispenses with it, for a time being, as it shows Sam and Oliver wanting to adopt Chintu especially because of it. They believe they are best suited to take care of him.

Saving Chintu, in nearly 25 minutes, easily takes care of the internal fights between the couple. And the sub-plot of Dr Sanjay and his wife (Priyanka Setia), who are also looking to adopt, resolves sweetly as well. The two stories eventually connect in a manner you may or may not see coming.

However, as heartwarming as the ending might be, Saving Chintu just falls short of making an emotional connect. Tyagi and his co-writers Sanyam Kumar and Corey Wright had good intentions, but the execution is far from effective.

The transitions between the stories of Dr Sanjay, with Sam and Oliver, isn’t smooth, and the film needed to be developed a bit more in order to be more relatable emotionally.

Saving Chintu is being screened at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. The film was also shown at the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival on 29 July and at the New York Indian Film Festival, which was held from 31 July to 2 August.

Related topics

Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival New York Indian Film Festival MovieSaints

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