Movie Reviews

Chargesheet review

A still from 'Chargesheet'

Cast: Dev Anand, Divya Dutta, Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, a few big bosomed women with undersized brassieres, too many extras

Directed by Dev Anand

Marksheet: Hardcore soft porn

'Chargesheet' will cling to memory for being the single-most traumatic Hindi movie ever. We all feel for the underdogs, the extras on a film set, the sideshow clowns, the people who cumulatively realise crowd scenes in films etc. But our sentiments for these rejects of the entertainment industry would be feeble compared to that of director Dev Anand's, who casts them in lead roles in this film. I mean, he did cast Naseeruddin Shah and Jackie Shroff too. But in a crowd of big bosomed ham cutlets, they're just the seasoning.

The film sets the tone right from the beginning. The big 'Bhai' from Dubai (Naseeruddin Shah) is being serenaded by his favourite keep, Maria. A rain dance number is performed with clothes so minimal that if she had worn nothing, we would've seen lesser than we do. Anyway, like every hooker worth the tubeless tyres around her waist, Maria has Bollywood dreams. Click Click Click… a call to Bhai's one-eyed partner who just so happens to be in Filmcity, Mumbai at the moment and she's signed on for the next big blockbuster.

So, Maria hops on to the first chopper headed from Dubai to Mahabaleshwar (where this billion-dollar magnum opus is being shot). She is soon greeted by Director Mahesh (Jackie Shroff), the half-jacket slinging writer (Milind Gunaji) and (self-confessed) superstar Suraj (Chirag Patil). We also have Minnie (Divya Dutta), an ageing unpopular actress who forces herself into this group, hoping to snatch the lead role away from Maria (Yes! This is the future of competition). Also hogging the limelight at the same hill resort, is ex-top-cop, now-charming drunk (rum is his spinach!), Gambhir Singh (Dev Anand).

Interestingly, we have an odd parallel story of Cham Cham (Devshi Khanduri), a tramp who has slummed it all her life ever since she was rescued from a garbage bin. Her chief source of income: strumming her unplugged electric guitar (hence her name) and swaying awkwardly inside her sharply tattered hot pants and shirt knotted into a shrug. Her priceless introduction shot has her singing, dancing, almost using the guitar as pole and dodging her fans who pelt her with coins and notes. She has a two-fold mission in life: purchase a 'lehenga-choli' worth Rs 2 lakhs and become the most popular actress ever (she announces this too many times to forget). What she can afford for the moment: a clown's make-up and a tent which can be locked with a key.
Anyway, the story is about a murder mystery. So attempting to be a formulaic whodunit, 'Chargesheet' has the victim Minnie's body tainted with finger prints of those who attempted to strangle her, slap her (uske gaal per fingerprints mile hain!) and scratch her at different places, moments before she was shot. So everyone is a suspect and idiotic interrogations follow.

Subtlety is not a virtue that Dev Anand's films endorse. So, every character walks into the screen, reads out his profile himself or asks others to bring it up. So, even while cuddling up with Bhai, Maria has to point out, "Tum toh duniya ke sabse bade don ho!"

But the production values of the film are truly embarassing. Most shots of 'Bhai' lounging at his Dubai lair have a huge world cup-esque container sitting in the middle of the frame comprising almonds, dates and cashewnuts (Dubai: dryfruits). Also in a chase sequence, you hear hissing sounds and someone screams, "Cobra!" but production couldn't manage to provide a reptile or equivalent.

To the film's credit, it does provide more than a few unintentional laughs but the forced nudity and a dress code that allows ones bra to double-up as a cellphone pouch could make even Rakhi Sawant blush.

You can reach me at guha.kunal@rocketmail.com or connect with me on Facebook

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