SEARCH

Common plague: some more Indian characters speaking affected English

SUDHISH KAMATH
print   ·   T  T  
VERBOSE:It's never easy to watch a film in which characters spend its entire length vocalising their thoughts on loss.
VERBOSE:It's never easy to watch a film in which characters spend its entire length vocalising their thoughts on loss.

Chaurahen (English/Hindi)

Director:Rajshree Ojha

Cast:Nedumudi Venu, Arundhati Nag, Zeenat Aman, Victor Banerjee, Roopa Ganguly, Kiera Chaplin, Soha Ali Khan, Ankur Khanna, Karthik Kumar and Shayan Munshi

Did Dhobi Ghat work for you?

If yes, chances are you might just like Rajshree Ojha's Chaurahen too. Like Kiran Rao's Dhobi Ghat , Chaurahen-Crossroads suffers from Indian characters speaking affected English while philosophising at length about pain, loss and death with stilted verbosity.

But if you are willing to overlook these issues most Indian English films face and the dated old-fashioned background score that tells you when you are supposed to feel sad, Chaurahen offers some genuinely heart-warming and poignant moments, mostly through the Kochi story involving Nedumudi Venu (he's such a fantastic actor that you wish there was a lot more for him to do here) and Chennai boy Karthik Kumar, who is a revelation, holding his own against the veteran.

This is easily the best-etched of the four short stories in Chaurahen and the film's finest moment involves Karthik Kumar sharing a secret with Suchitra Pillai. You wish there were more of these understated moments that speak volumes rather than long-winded premeditations on pain and living with ghosts, as alienated characters in dysfunctional family set-ups constantly share poetry and literature to keep flashing the film's arthouse badge.

While Victor Banerjee and Roopa Ganguly make the Kolkata story work somewhat, the Mumbai story is slowest, with nothing else except pretty and earnest Soha Ali Khan to keep us engaged.

And the fourth story with Zeenat Aman is the weakest, almost slapped onto the film late in the narrative as an afterthought to lend it some poignancy. But we know too little to actually care.

Ojha takes her own time to get into the story, revealing very little but the mood of the characters lost deep in their own worlds.

It's never easy to watch a film in which characters spend its entire length vocalising their thoughts onloss.One could argue that we rarely see such indulgence in our cinema these days. It is quite a brave effort in that context and full points to the filmmaker for the attempt to make the film she believed in, no matter how many years it took.

Now that the film is finally out in the theatres after a decade since she started making it, Ojha may finally be able to let it go and get her closure. Watch it to support the effort to take the road less travelled, just so that a few more young filmmakers dare to do so.

SUDHISH KAMATH

More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL

O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in KARNATAKA

BJP’s Bengaluru meeting put off

The national office-bearers’ meeting as well as the two-day national executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which were scheduled to be... »