There is usually something love stories can always offer, a sense of nostalgia or say bittersweet memories. The idea of entwining two lives together to express an emotion like love is perhaps why love-stories sometimes make for the greatest of tales. Chammak Challo starts off as an ode to the genre of romance (refer to the titles with a montage of celluloid love stories), but soon enough you realise that dragging scenes and unreal dialogues have sent the film’s potential packing!
The film unfolds through a conversation between Kishore (Srinivas Avasarala), an aspiring film maker who wants to film a love story with a ‘different’ twist and Apparao Mastaru (Sayaji Shinde), a senior lecturer in a city college. Apparao shares the love story of Shyam (Varun Sandesh) and Anshu’ (Sanchita Padukone) — it’s neither ‘love-at-first-sight’ nor ‘love-at-first-fight’ but according to Apparao, a slow realisation of mutual fondness. Things progress, Shyam and Anshu get engaged and Shyam gets a job in Bangalore. Suddenly things go awry thanks to Sunaina (Catherine) and they break up. A curious Kishore ends up playing Cupid. Some of the scenes like gazing at stars, finding a love symbol amidst those stars have all the makings of a sappy, corny and cheesy flick.
The excruciatingly slow pace of narrative is unnerving and you can almost see the Exit sign in the hall call out to you. Our biggest problem however is with two-dimensional characters where relationships are so fragile that a mini-skirt can create or a rift or a forgotten birthday leads to a broken engagement; it speaks of a shoddy representation of GenY values. You can never truly empathise with the characters and that to us is a failed narrative.
Varun Sandesh needs to work on his enunciation and so does an underperforming Catherine who otherwise looks stylish. Sanchita Padukone is lifeless and cardboard-like. Srinivas Avasarala is restrained yet his evocative performance contrasts Sayaji Shinde’s energy-infused portrayal. This narrative between Kishore and Apparao alone holds together the otherwise frayed edges of the storyline. The songs are jarring and never fit the storyline and the music isn’t all that appealing either. Also, did we mention that Varun Sandesh’s hair has a life of its own?
There are too many glaring holes in the movie and no amount of M-seal can patch things up. The film works on the premise of giving you a ‘new love story’ but denies itself that very chance through poor direction, music and acting.