Priyadarshan is a brand. Although the accomplished storyteller has tackled various genres in the past, somehow, the very mention of his name on billboards conjures images of a film that promises loads of laughter.
Priyan's new endeavor, CHUP CHUP KE, also follows the same route that his earlier films embarked upon. Sure, the film is a laugh-riot, in the first hour at least. But a strong and gripping drama, so vital to balance the proceedings, keeps you equally riveted in the post-interval portions.
CHUP CHUP KE works, and works big time primarily because Priyan balances the two extremes -- comedy and drama -- with gusto. Of course, there's no denying that the comic portions leave a stronger impact, but the emotional quotient in the penultimate 30 minutes of the enterprise also takes the film to an all-time high.
A remake of the Malayalam movie PUNJABI HOUSE [1998; Dileep, Mohini] and Telugu movie MAA BALAJI [1999; Naveen, Maheshwari], CHUP CHUP KE is a comedy of errors that has the power to keep you thoroughly entertained from start to end. In short, CHUP CHUP KE is as invigorating and revitalizing as an ice-cold, fresh watermelon juice in scorching heat.
Jeetu [Shahid Kapoor] is a small-town guy who is constantly in debt and dodging creditors and moneylenders. His father [Anupam Kher], a retired school teacher, and his fiance Pooja [Sushma Reddy] are made to suffer the consequences of his instability and his debts. Pooja's father [Manoj Joshi] also feels that Jeetu is not worthy of Pooja and encourages her to marry someone else, which she doesn't agree to.
Jeetu tries to commit suicide by jumping in the sea, so that his family gets to claim his insurance and pay off his debts. But Jeetu is found entangled in fishing nets by a pair of fishermen, Gundya [Paresh Rawal] and Bandya [Rajpal Yadav], at an altogether new destination: Kolkata.
Gundya owes money to Prabhat Singh [Om Puri], a shrewd Gujarati businessman. On discovering Jeetu caught like a mermaid in their nets, Gundya and Bandya discover a note in Jeetu's pocket that leads them to assume that he is a millionaire. Later, Gundya keeps Jeetu and Bandya at Prabhat Singh's palatial home in exchange for the money that he owes.
All this while, Jeetu pretends to be deaf-mute. Complications develop when Prabhat Singh's niece Shruti [Kareena Kapoor] also turns out to be mute, not deaf. Her over-protective elder brother, Mangal [Suniel Shetty], has fixed her marriage to an affluent businessman in Gujarat.
Jeetu's secret is revealed one night when Shruti and her cousin Meenakshi [Neha Dhupia] discover him singing. They agree to keep his secret, in return he is asked to play a part in getting a greedy bridegroom to cancel his marriage to Shruti. For this, he has to pretend to be Shruti's lover.
Mangal, Shruti's brother, gets to know of the romance. He forces Jeetu to marry Shruti. But there are complications. Jeetu's family gets to know that he is alive and the family wants him back. Jeetu finds himself at crossroads. On one hand is Shruti and on the other, Pooja.
Making people laugh in a dark auditorium is not everyone's cup of tea. But Priyan has mastered the art beautifully. Check out the sequences soon after Shahid and Rajpal Yadav are appointed to do the odd jobs at Om Puri's home and you'd agree, there're very few storytellers who can make you laugh at the right points.
In fact, the entire first hour can be best described in one word: Howlarious. And you ought to put your hands together for Rajpal Yadav for contributing enormously in making the first half thoroughly entertaining. It's not that Shahid, Paresh or Om Puri don't contribute. It's just that Rajpal is lucky enough to get those sequences and he also carries them off brilliantly.
The post-interval portions do a complete somersault. If you expect the second hour to be outrageously funny, you're mistaken. The second hour gets into an altogether different lane, which talks of relationships and emotions. The families, especially Shahid's, re-enter the picture at this juncture and the focus is on parivaar and rishte.
However, the second hour is not without its share of deficiencies. The romantic track between Shahid and Kareena could've been developed far more convincingly. It looks too sudden, frankly. Also, the song and dance routine cuts short an interesting story. But, thankfully, the story resumes yet again towards the climax and the concluding reels compensate for the slackness.
CHUP CHUP KE is amongst Priyan's finest efforts. His choice of the story is perfect, but the reason he scores brownie points is because he successfully juxtaposes the light moments with dramatic portions. Himesh Reshammiya's music is pleasant. 'Ghoomar' and 'Dil Vich Lagya' are two songs that gel well with the mood and setting.
Tirru's cinematography is up to the mark. The usage of white color throughout the film gives each frame that certain freshness. Dialogues [Neeraj Vora] play to the gallery. A few one-liners are truly hilarious, especially the ones delivered by Rajpal Yadav.
Shahid is in complete form this time. The youngster was always considered a dependable actor, but after watching him in CHUP CHUP KE, you realize that he has grown tremendously over the passage of time. He stands tall against veterans like Paresh, Rajpal and Om Puri all through the enterprise -- and that's no small achievement. Besides, he dances with passion in the songs.
Kareena looks a million bucks despite no make-up look all through. But there's more to the actor than gorgeous looks. She emotes through her eyes, so vital for a character that has no lines to deliver.
Like every Priyan film, the film also has an assorted mix of character actors, but they're no props. But the one who stands out is without doubt Rajpal Yadav. He actually carries the entire first hour on his shoulders, stealing the show from one and all. Yet another milestone in this supremely talented actor's repertoire.
Suniel Shetty is excellent. His last few films didn't really offer him roles that would make him sit up and deliver, but he sinks his teeth in the role and tackles the no-nonsense bade bhaiya part with elan. Paresh Rawal, sporting a funny hairdo, is flawless yet again. His interaction with Om Puri at the start of the film is remarkable, especially the pahelwaan fight. Om Puri is superb. The character demands that he scream his lungs out and he does that with conviction.
Neha Dhupia is effective, getting substantial footage this time. A few more roles like the one in CHUP CHUP KE will only rejuvenate her career. Sushma Reddy is quite good, but she needs to take care of her makeup. Anupam Kher is just right. Shakti Kapoor is equally hilarious. His scenes with Rajpal Yadav are sure to bring the house down. Manoj Joshi is brilliant in the scene when he confronts Anupam Kher in the pre-climax. Asrani is fair.
On the whole, CHUP CHUP KE is yet another enjoyable joyride from Priyadarshan. While the comedy in the first hour will bring the house down, the emotional quotient in the second hour is sure to pull your heart's strings. At the box-office, CHUP CHUP KE has all it takes to join the ranks of HUNGAMA, HULCHUL, GARAM MASALA and MALAMAAL WEEKLY. A complete family entertainer... Must watch!