Chaalis Chaurasi is entertaining in parts

MUMBAI: Chalis Chaurasi has that early era Hollywood storyline; one educated, English speaking ex-criminal leading a gang of three other criminals to make a big hit once and call it a day dreaming about a city and suburban homes, limousines and the works. It is a caper movie with four criminals with special talents getting together to make a final killing.

Producer: Anuya Mhaiskar, Sachin Awasthee, Uday Shetty.
Director: Hriday Shetty.
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Kay Kay Menon, Ravi Kissen, Atul Kulkarni, Zakir Hussain, Manoj Pahwa.

Naseeruddin Shah is an ex-professor out after doing 10 years in prison for having caused the death of his wife; he is called Sir by everybody and is the planner. Key Kay Menon, a car thief, has a thing for 1956 Fiat car, popularly known as Dukkar Fiat; he destroys any similar car he spots because he wants his own one to be the only car left. Atul Kulkarni is a pimp while Ravi Kissen is a drug peddler and how will the talents of these two be of any particular use in the operation is not bothered with nor are the details about how they came together!

While the other three carry on with their respective enterprise, Naseeruddin Shah works as a chauffeur to Manoj Pahwa who trades Rs 20 million worth of genuine currency for Rs 30 million worth of fake kind. And, it is assigned to Naseeruddin Shah to execute the exchange.

Naseeruddin does a recce of the premises where the exchange takes place and realises that at the end of all the exchanges, the gang, which he is convinced consists of just two persons, will be left with about Rs 200 million of genuine currency. He is tempted and gathers the other three and proposes they steal the money and retire for good with all the worldly comforts. To reach this stage, the film consumes the first half which has no story or purpose; the film takes off on a promising note as the gang of four posing as cops and wielding pistols drop in at a dance bar, kick the besura singer out and take to dancing and singing. There is nothing happening thereafter except some repeated scenes; whatever story the film has, happens only post interval and makes for interesting viewing. In the climax, the assumed two man fake notes gang turns out to be much bigger with some maniacal characters included and the director decides to treat all the action as buffoonery since the four men out to steal are novices.

Chaalis Chaurasi, in most part, remains the one liner it would have started as, there is no cohesive script; gags are sorely lacking in first half while second half makes the film somewhat watchable. Director has not cared for details or finesse; some portions can easily be deleted. Music does not have a part to play in this film though the popular Hasan Jahangir number, Hawwa hawwa…. adds some pep. Dialogue is routine. Of the actors, Naseeruddin Shah tops followed by Ravi Kissen while Kay Kay Menon hams and Atul Kulkarni seems at sea except in one scene of straightening out a client. Zakir Hussain and Rajesh Sharma are good as usual.

Chaalis Chaurasi is entertaining in parts but with its cast lacking a draw the opening is weak; with some hope of doing better over the weekend, it will eventually find better appreciation on video circuits.

Sadda Adda is unlikely to survive the weekend

Producer: Rajiv R Agarwal, Tarun R Agarwal.
Director: Muazzam Beg.
Cast: Karanvir Sharma, Bhaumik Sampat, Rohin Robert, Kunal Pant, Rohitt Kuldeep Arora, Shaurya Chauhan, Kahkkashan Aryan, Maryam Zakaria.

There are two sides to a film like Sadda Adda, the good thing about it is that it brings forth new talent and makes some careers; the other side, the drawback is that, with new faces juxtaposed with high ticket rates, there are few takers for such films on the onset.

Sadda Adda is about six young men from different backgrounds and regions sharing an apartment in Delhi who are in search of careers and yet find time to enjoy life in the company of each other as they share life, food, cigarettes and beers as well as their idea of dream romance.

Karanvir Sharma, Bhaumik Sampat, Rohin Robert, Kunal Pant, Rohitt Kuldeep Arora are a bunch of friends who come to Delhi from other parts of India; one as different from the other as chalk and cheese, each with a goal to pursue. Despite their varied backgrounds and purposes in lives, they bond like childhood friends. They share each other‘s sorrows as well as joys and successes. One is biding time waiting to migrate to the US and has a rich family to back him and, hence, is the backbone of other roomies in need of cash; the other is studying to crack the IAS exams; the third one is a qualified management grad looking for a worthy job to support his family and marry the girl he is engaged to; fourth one wants to be a great actor and already has a Hollywood film assignment in his bag; the fifth one is an architect who is never given his due credit while the last and the youngest of the group is an uneducated lad who seems to have no future but turns out to be the most contented at the end even as others too find their due recognition. It is not all easy going for the boys as there are ups and downs and there is one casualty on the way as the IAS proves too tough for the one aspiring for it and leads to his suicide.

Writer director Muazzam Beg, who has another recent youth centric film, Rock Star, to his credit as writer, adopts simple approach to treat this film, the tell it as it would happen kind; there are good moments as melodrama is avoided. Music blends with the theme though lyric sound uninspiring. Cinematography is good. Performances by the young actors are generally okay. Of the romantic angles, the one between Bhaumik Sampat and Kahkkashan Aryan is more mature kind.

Sadda Adda has had no audience for the opening shows at various places and is unlikely to survive the weekend.

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