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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Chhappad Phaad Ke movie review: Vinay Pathak, Ayesha Raza in a dull tale of hypocrisy

Chhappad Phaad Ke movie review: Despite having lined up brilliant actors like Vinay Pathak and Ayesha Raza, debutant director Sameer Joshi offers a film that is neither entertaining nor hard-hitting.

bollywood Updated: Oct 19, 2019 17:42 IST
Sweta Kaushal
Sweta Kaushal
Hindustan Times
Chhappad Phaad Ke movie review: Vinay Pathak in a still from the new Hotstar film.
Chhappad Phaad Ke movie review: Vinay Pathak in a still from the new Hotstar film.
         

Chhappad Phaad Ke
Director - Sameer Joshi
Cast - Vinay Pathak, Sheetal Thakur, Siddharth Menon, Ayesha Raza

The current generation saw the biggest political and civil movement of their lifetimes in 2011, when Anna Hazare launched his campaign against corruption. The movement, which eventually saw Arvind Kejriwal emerging as a politician with AAP as the vehicle, had nationwide impact. Several films have been inspired by the movement and people involved, in parts or completely. Sameer Joshi’s Hotstar Special for Diwali is a satirical tale of hypocrisy, politics and consumerism rampant in current lives and often references the 2011 anti-corruption movement.

Set in a Maharashtrian middle-class family, Chhappad Phaad Ke stars Vinay Pathak, Sheetal Thakur, Siddharth Menon and Ayesha Raza in lead roles. Vinay plays an honest man, who selflessly serves his party and believes in ideology and principles. His family, however, suffers due to his honesty. His wife, played by Ayesha, struggles daily with their decades old washing machine while daughter Sheetal’s character fights with her Scooty to get it started. His son, played by Siddharth, is unemployed and loves photography but cannot make a living out of his passion.

Watch the Chhappad Phaad Ke trailer here

 

The movie opens quite slowly as the filmmaker establishes the apparent honesty and integrity of Vinay’s character and his wife, even as they do their best to instil the same values in their children in an age of consumerism. However, it is clear right at the start that the wife is obsessed with having enough money for the household, while Vinay’s character cares mostly about his party and politics. The family’s old grandpa solves Hindi crosswords the whole day and is mainly used as a commentator in the narrative. Each time the filmmaker wants to hammer a point across, the granddad asks around for a word which works as an adjective for the person in focus.

How things turn from bad to ugly with unexpected turn of events and how can principles and values be retained during such trying times constitutes the two-hour long film.

The debutant director has tried to highlight a lot of topics in his satire – from political mileage for a cleanliness drive to demonetisation and the illegal ways people find to route their money from black to white to the importance of Ram (God, religion) in politics and Anna Hazare’s movement. While it may have seemed sincere and responsible on paper, the execution is messy. It often turns out to be a didactic piece listing out issues in our society rather than a movie tackling these issues. Sample some of the dialogues: “Raajneeti me Ram kitne anivaarya hain na dost” and “James Bond banana aya tha, sutli bomb nikla.”

The actors are in their element, executing their roles perfectly but the average screenplay fails them. The movie, nonetheless, displays brilliance in parts. Some of the twists and turns in the plot are smartly done and accelerate the pace of the narrative, if only for a few moments.

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The author tweets @SwetaKaushal