292683 Taran Adarsh

Chalte Chalte Review by Taran Adarsh

3.5

As producer, Shah Rukh Khan missed the bus in his first two productions. Will he get it right the third time, with CHALTE CHALTE? Yes, he does! Dreamz & UTV's CHALTE CHALTE, directed by Aziz Mirza, is a feel-good film and though it has its share of loose ends, the outcome leaves you feeling thoroughly fulfilled.

Opposites attract, right? That's what happens when Raj [Shah Rukh Khan] and Priya [Rani Mukherji] bump into each other on a highway.

They are as diverse as chalk and cheese. Raj is an impulsive, middle class, hard-working, emotional guy, while Priya is prim and proper, highly sophisticated and brought up in the lap of luxury.

They throw caution to the winds and dare to fall in love. But, gradually, things start changing. Romance takes a backseat, the need to impress no longer exists. What happens next?

CHALTE CHALTE is a tale of two hearts�

Primarily a love story, the film tackles the issue of marital discord � an issue that has been witnessed on the Hindi screen since decades. Also, flashes of ABHIMAAN, KORA KAAGAZ, AKELE HUM AKELE TUM, D.D.L.J., RAJA HINDUSTANI, HUM DIL DE HUKE SANAM and the recent SAATHIYA [it may be coincidental, the makers haven't intentionally tried to incorporate moments from these films!] cross your mind as you embark on a journey called CHALTE CHALTE, but this film has its enduring moments � moments that you carry home even after the show has ended.

Actually, CHALTE CHALTE has no story to talk of, but it's the treatment of this waferthin plot, the characters, the moments, the dialogues, the overall impact that makes it so very special.

Like his earlier works, director Aziz Mirza has set the film in a middle class locality of Mumbai [the setting makes the goings-on identifiable!] and garnished it with sequences that are straight out of everyday life. Somewhere, sometimes, to somebody you know, you've seen it happen � and that's where the film works!

The first half of the enterprise covers all aspects that contribute to the making of a love story � the meeting, the affair, the marriage, the tiffs� In fact, the roller coaster ride in the first half is flawless in terms of writing, execution and interpretation.

There're moments that bring immense joy to the viewer, like the one during the wedding reception [soon after SRK and Rani's first meeting] or the sequence in the aircraft [SRK boarding the same flight to Athens].

Likewise, the emotional moments are hard to forget. Sequences like the one outside Rani's house in Athens, when SRK talks about the moments they've shared, or Rani's entry into SRK's house after the marriage, have been handled with ?n.

Naturally, if the batsman hits a century in the first innings, the viewer expects an encore in the second innings [post-interval] as well.

But the pace drops in the second half. Also, the goings-on tend to get lengthy and cumbersome as you watch the couple having tiff after tiff, most of which lack ground. How one wishes the editor would've used the scissors sharply to trim or even edit these portions!

Fortunately, the second half has its share of brilliantly executed and emoted sequences that save the film from sinking. Like, for instance, the scene in the party when SRK gets to know that Rani has borrowed money from Jas Arora to clear off the debt, is one of the best sequences of the enterprise.

Ditto for the sequence in the pre-climax, when SRK creates a ruckus in the foyer of Rani's condominium, after having reached the location in an inebriated state. Even the climax [slightly long drawn though!] when SRK breaks down completely at the airport � the sequences manage to pull your heart strings and would prompt the delicate ones to reach for their handkerchief.

Undoubtedly, CHALTE CHALTE is Aziz Mirza's finest attempt as a storyteller. Not only has he extracted outstanding performances from the principal cast, he has also struck the right balance between light and emotional moments of the film � the two sides of the coin. It is thanks to Mirza's mature handling that the film neither becomes an out-an-out comedy, nor a complete tearjerker.

If Mirza's work is top notch, the screenplay is equally gripping, though, of course, the second half could've been concise. Rumi Jafry's dialogues are excellent. It's truly amazing to see someone who has specialised in writing out-and-out mass-oriented stuff in David Dhawan's flicks come up with natural and sensitive writing this time around.

The music [Jatin-Lalit, Aadesh Shrivasatava] is a mixed bag � not great, not bad either. Amongst the tracks, 'Tauba' and 'Suno Na' stand out for their honey-coated tunes, while the balance tracks range from quite good to strictly average. Ashok Mehta's cinematography is first-rate, like always.

And now to the performances!

CHALTE CHALTE clearly belongs to Shah Rukh Khan, an actor par excellence. One actually runs out of adjectives and personifications if asked to describe this performance by the actor. Clearly his most natural and likeable performance since DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE, SRK surrenders himself completely to the script and delivers a performance that is bound to be a big hit with one and all.

Rani Mukherji proved her mettle as an actress of calibre in SAATHIYA and in CHALTE CHALTE, she takes a step forward. She slips into the character with amazing ease, proving that she's a reservoir of talent. Looks-wise too, Rani has never looked as gorgeous as in this flick.

Jas Arora comes up with a fine performance. Johny Lever isn't loud this time around [Thank God!], but how one wishes his character was properly developed. Amongst character artistes, Satish Shah and Lillete Dubey stand out.

On the whole, CHALTE CHALTE has several aces in its kitty the light and emotional moments, the performances, the deft execution of the subject that makes you fall in love with love� But, most importantly, the film has tremendous emotional appeal to make the family audience throng the theatres. At the box-office, CHALTE CHALTE has all it takes to emerge victorious. Highly recommended!

Chalte Chalte 3.5 Taran Adarsh 20030613

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