Prostitution the profession has been depicted on the Indian screen several times in the past.
But what makes CHAMELI different from films of its ilk is that the story of the film takes place on one rainy night and reaches its conclusion the following morning.
In fact, a 'one-night-story' has been attempted very few times in the past. Director Sudhir Mishra did tackle this genre in IS RAAT KI SUBAH NAHIN. Although Mishra did leave an indelible impression with that film, he misses the bus this time around.
Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd.'s CHAMELI, directed by Sudhir Mishra, is a story of a man who has lost his wife and a hardened prostitute.
Aman [Rahul Bose] has lost his wife [Rinke Khanna in a sp. app.] on a rainy night in an accident. The rain brings back haunting memories of the past.
While driving around aimlessly on a stormy night, Aman's car stalls at Mumbai's Flora Fountain. He has no option but to take shelter in the arches of Fountain.
Aman pulls out a cigarette and attempts to light it, discovering, to his complete frustration, that he has no match. It is here that Aman meets Chameli [Kareena Kapoor] for the first time.
Their worlds are different. But for one night, Aman is compelled to share the footpath with Chameli.
It is this rain that brings together these two strangers. And sparks off a romance
Although the concept of the film is interesting and director Sudhir Mishra has handled a few sequences with dexterity, the film doesn't strike a chord thanks to a half-baked screenplay.
Given the fact that the basic idea is refreshingly different a suave investment banker interacting with a prostitute on a stormy night the writers could've incorporated so much more in the narrative, but alas!
The viewer keeps waiting for something to happen, but nothing happens. And what unfolds is anything but exciting. The drama which begins with the prostitute refusing to spend the night with a local corporator, to the sequences in the cop station, to the climax the flow of episodes lack the grip so essential in a film of this genre!
Besides, the story unfolds at a lethargic pace, testing the patience of the viewer at times. In fact, the film moves at a snail's pace from start to end, which gets cumbersome after a point. Let's not forget, the viewer of today just doesn't have the patience to stomach slow-paced fares!
To be honest, the screenplay leaves a lot to be desired. Kareena's change of heart for the pimp at first she wants to save his life, in the end she does a complete somersault ? confuses the viewer no end.
To point another instance, Rahul Bose's flashback fails to evoke sympathy for the character. Besides, the end ? the culmination of the story should've been better thought of.
Prior to that, the sequences in the police station, when Rahul and Kareena are picked up by cops, do bring about a twist in the story, but the manner in which the writer has worked on the subsequent scenes annihilates the goings-on to a large extent.
Pray, why does the top cop [Yashpal Sharma] suddenly start acting like a mediator between the pimp, corporator and the prostitute Perhaps, only the writer has an answer for that!
Director Sudhir Mishra is letdown by a shoddy screenplay. Even otherwise, the film does not satisfy the appetite of those looking for realistic cinema, nor does it play up to the hoi polloi. Besides, the film lacks the hard-hitting impact of say, a MAUSAM or a MANDI or a BAZAAR, which also tackled the issue of flesh trade. Also, one wonders why the director felt it imperative to have songs in the film!
Sandesh Shandilya's music might appeal to connoisseurs, but doesn't have much to offer to the man on the street. 'Bhaage Re Mann' can be singled out for its mesmerising effect. Cinematography [Aseem Bajaj] is first-rate. The sound quality is of standard. Dialogues are simple, although the frequent 'mute beeps' [censors] in the dialogues mar the impact.
Kareena Kapoor tries hard to look the character, but her otherwise polished personality acts as a major deterrent. There's no denying that the actress does make a sincere attempt the styling, the get-up, the mannerisms are just right but she seems miscast in a role that demands crudeness and rawness. Rahul Bose is competent, but he needs to go easy on his accent. Kabir leaves a mark in a small role. Yashpal Sharma deserved a better role. Ditto for Makrand Deshpande.
On the whole, CHAMELI does not deliver. At the box-office, the film caters to a niche audience but in view of the fact that the film lacks a solid script to keep the viewer hooked, even that segment of viewers may not take to it whole-heartedly. Below average.