‘Hum Chaar’ review: Sanskari friendship woes

Rajshri Productions, known for its sanskari family dramas, is trying to keep up with the millennials in Hum Chaar. Family has given way to friends, characters (including women) consume alcohol, emojis and social media interface float onscreen, the female lead is (somewhat) feisty and the word ‘sex’ is uttered (although cloaked as ‘sexpheare’). But the structure and tone of storytelling remain the same old — a classic linear narrative, predictable turn of events, over-established situations and stilted character arcs.

Hum Chaar
  • Director: Abhishek Dixit
  • Cast: Tushar Pandey, Anshuman Malhotra, Simran Sharma and Prit Kamani
  • Storyline: Four college friends reunite after a tragic accident

Hum Chaar, if the title wasn’t self-explanatory enough, follows four friends in college and their lives after. Manjari, dressed in a mustard kurta, who is full of “saadhgi, sachchai aur sundarta (simplicity, truth and beauty)” enters the group of three boys and disrupts their dynamics. Despite the film’s refreshing focus on friendships, romantic love nudges its way into the narrative and takes the film down a trite path of unrequited love. Hum Chaar makes a case for platonic friendships and attempts at elevating it to the same level as romantic relationships. But dosti, in this film, appears to be collateral damage of failed attempts at finding love, rather than friendship being the end goal. Hum Chaar doesn’t even cleverly address the concept of ‘friend zoning’ but slips into a mawkish saga time and again. Despite its millennial setting and characters, the film feels odds anachronistic in its narrative and ideas about dating.

Beyond the dynamics of friendship in the digital age, the film opens tiny windows into ambitions (or lack thereof) and parental pressures but they soon peter out. There are a few insightful observations like the addiction to texting and it’s fascinating to see how contemporary cinema is incorporating the textures and aesthetics of social media in its visuals. But the film overall has such a sanitised feel to it that even ‘vices’ like bullying and drinking fit well into the bowdlerised Rajshri world. The four debut actors — Tushar Pandey, Anshuman Malhotra, Simran Sharma and Prit Kamani — work well within the virtuous setting and you can see that the efforts to breathe life into their one-dimensional characters are earnest, although Sharma, who plays Manjari, the only character with shades and some enigma, is painfully stoic at points. When Kamani’s character Namit tells her “Tum kaafi anokhi ho (You are rather unique)”, she promptly responds, “Nahi main normal hoon (I am quite normal)” But Hum Chaar never listens to her — it blindly insists on making drama out of the banal.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 4:39:19 PM |

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