We are halfway through 2014 and what we notice is that there is no specific genre that has dominated the year so far. At the same time, we cannot ignore the likes of those films which actually made the year thus far a memorable one. These films include many small budget films and a handful of mega budget entertainers, which did manage to create a hungama at the box-office.
This week's release CHAARFUTIYA CHHOKARE is about an NRI girl and her aspirations to build a school in her native village, without being aware of the road which lies ahead that will pose many obstacles in her path. Does the protagonist overcome the obstacles and help the film emerge victorious or does she, along with the film's script, succumb to the circumstances, let's analyze.
The film starts off with Neha Malini (Soha Ali Khan), an NRI girl who comes back to India to build a school in her parent's native village. Armed with a never say die attitude, she sets out to realize her dreams of educating down trodden village kids. But what she fails to fathom are the kind of obstacles which await her and act as roadblocks while realizing her dreams. The film starts off with her journey into the village, where she bumps into three boys on whom the film is based/ titled. These three 'chokres' (boys) include Awadesh (Harsh Mayar), Gorakh (Shankar Mandal) and Hari (Aditya Jitu). Impressed by their 'innocence', she gifts them with jackets and chocolates, which the trio lap up, in return of directing her to the village school. It is here where she gets a shock of her life, when she discovers that the three kids are actually hardcore criminals and not school students. This starts her journey into the introspection of the three kids and their lives, while simultaneously walking every possible mile to build the school amidst many vested interests. While doing all this, what she also discovers is that the criminal activities of the three children are actually masterminded by a very notorious criminal Lakhan (Zakir Hussain), who also is a kingpin in child trafficking. Despite the presence of the local police inspector Balkishan (Mukesh Tiwari), all the criminal activities manage to take place right under his nose.
Does Neha single handedly succeed in reforming the three kids and getting them back to their juvenile lives or does she too become a victim of circumstances and give up on her dreams and the dreaded reason as to why the three children take up arms, is what forms the rest of the film.
Even though the sensitive topic of child trafficking and sexual abuse have been dealt with in recent films like LAKSHMI and MARDAANI, CHAARFUTIYA CHHOKARE's debutante director cum story writer cum editor Manish Harishankar fails to deliver with this film, which comes across as a breeding ground for many technical glitches. The film's makers can be applauded for choosing such a sensitive topic and their noble intentions to give the audience a sneak peek into the deadly whirlpool of child trafficking in the heartland of India. The first half of the film drags itself unceremoniously till the interval leaving the audience with an optimistic expectation about the second half. But the sad part is that, even the second part of the film ends up being a letdown, with only a handful of scenes acting as a saving grace.
As far as the performances are concerned, despite an array of actors, there is hardly anyone who stands out in the crowd, except Soha Ali Khan, who, single handedly, carries the film on her shoulders. There are moments where her performance reminds us of what she did in MUMBAI MERI JAAN. Even seasoned actors like Seema Biswas and Lekh Tandon find themselves out of place in the film. Zakir Hussain as the villainous Lakhan struggles uncomfortably with his dialogue delivery. Even his Bihari accent looks too forced upon him. As far as the 'heroes' of the film are concerned, Harsh Mayar, being the eldest of the trio, shines comparatively than the other two, Shankar Mandal and Aditya Jitu seem too young to be involved into any kind of criminal activities, especially when it comes to handling guns. There are certain scenes when these kids try to act, walk and talk like adults which makes things gimmicky.
As far as the music of the film is concerned (Abhijeet, Sameer and Sudip Banerji), there's hardly anything to write about it. The only saving grace here is the soulful rendition of 'Vidya Ki Parasmani', which is an adaptation of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's song. Because the film has been made on a hard hitting subject, one just cannot expect any miracle from the choreographer (Madhav Kishan). The editing too is average and abrupt at times (Manish Harishankar), bad sound quality and poor dubbing which coupled with equally bad screenplay and cinematography takes the film to a disastrous low.
Overall, if you are looking out for some wholesome entertainment, then CHAARFUTIYA CHHOKARE is a highly avoidable fare, despite having a strong and sensitive subject.