Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein
Director: Manish Srivastav
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Anand Tiwari, Amit Sial, Mansi Rachh, Divya Arora
Shaking bodies, trembling camera, smoke billowing into the air and an accident, Manish Srivastav conjures up a convoluted whodunit in Mumbai’s emerging drug sub culture. However, in an attempt to create the bizarre atmospherics, in a pursuit to be ahead of the audience he leaves them clueless.
A group of guys and gals, whose moral centre is missing, share a passion for cocaine, popularly called Charlie. Manish tries to make us believe that because of the obsession for the drug they have brushed the underworld the wrong way and have got entangled in a web of deceit where their loyalty is tested at every turn. Of course there is more to it than meets the eye but how many layers of smokescreen can you put up to hide a simple tale of greed.
As the crime unravels in flash back with the help of ‘found footage’ playing in front of the investigating officer played by a rather weary looking Naseeruddin Shah, Srivastav tries to hold his aces till the very end. He succeeds but the process to reach there is jarring, gimmicky and cumbersome. If the idea is to project the growing voyeurism around us, after a point, the film itself seems to enjoy sexual gratification.
As for the storyline, many will agree when an officer says, “the guys have left the entire film but still we don’t know what the story is.” It is like a complex crossword puzzle where the director doesn’t want to share the clues and keeps dropping lies to startle you in the end. It is like that child who used to lie that wolf is coming and when one day when the wolf really makes an appearance nobody cares to believe him. In Amit Sial, Anand Tiwari and Mansi Racch, he has got a decent set of young actors, but the writing ensures that you don’t develop a bond with any of the characters. Amidst all this Naseer takes the idea of keeping a straight face rather literally and in the tale of greed focuses on the paycheck.
In the second half when things begin to add up you realise somewhere beneath the smoke there is some substance but by then our patience is ‘powdered’ to smithereens.
Giddiness is guaranteed!