Cast: Irrfan Khan, Sanath Menon, Rohan Grover, Naman Jain, Chinmai Chandranshuh, Sherya Sharma
Directed by Vikas Bahl and Nitesh Tiwari
If you're here to read this review, you're either a minor or you're still stuck in your childhood, mentally. If not, you better be because this film, featuring an adolescent army, is by, for and of the kids (and may be the parents, who have to endure this film with them). And thankfully, the kids in question are remarkably unlike Bollywood kids. They're not pathetically dull, yet not over-smart like kids in TV soaps.
The movie begins with an innocent and rather grammatically challenged acknowledgment, 'For the love of dog'. While you try to imagine if the editing studio has a spell-check, we cut into a detergent commercial. Yes, a commercial after the opening acknowledgment (is still better than in-film?). Since the commercial features kids, some people in the audience will actually applaud it, assuming that the movie has begun. Sigh.
Soon, we're ushered into an average middle class housing colony in Mumbai called Chandan Nagar Society. Each kid residing here is introduced deliciously along with peculiar details that dictate their nicknames. Like the one who's always handed down his elder brother's clothes is called 'Second-hand' and the one who doesn't wear an underwear is dotingly called 'Janghiya'. Anyway, these kids are cumulatively called 'Chillar Party' (CP) by the many neighbourhood uncles, aunties and a certain man who sounds like a woman (appropriately called Googly).
The film picks up pace and interest, as there's a new addition to this merry troupe of toddlers called Fatka, a little labourer who enters the society as a car cleaner with his mutt Bhidu (not to be confused with Jackie Shroff).
Just as the kids get into the swing of things, a politician declares a new law which would make Bhidu a chief target for the dog van. Now, although this may seem like a frivolous issue, it becomes a paramount concern for the CP. And the build-up is such that their concern and stress over the silliest things will easily trickle down to you.
The team of tiny tots formulates several stunts to stir media and public attention to take notice of their humble predicament. With just the right amount of drama, this seemingly trivial film, takes a turn for the better and becomes an inspirational tale of standing up for what you believe in. Unfortunately, it can't maintain the energy till the end. And when we reach a critical juncture in the film where there is a televised debate between the politician and the CP, it ends up being a preachy moral science lecture. Yawn.
'Chillar Party' gets full marks for the background score that actually holds up the intensity of scenes which would otherwise be ignored as feeble and weak. And also the screenplay is tight enough to hold your attention, even without the lure of a recognizable star or the attraction of an earth-shattering story.
Perhaps, debut directors Vikas Bahl and Nitesh Tiwari should be lauded for trying their best (and succeeding to a large extent) in engaging us in a story which has little potential, yet a world of possibilities.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Facebook