‘Chhalaang’ Movie Review: Highly predictable, but Rajkummar Rao-Hansal Mehta’s coming-of-age sports drama will surely entertain
Ajay Devgn, Luv Ranjan, Ankur Garg, Bhushan Kumar
Rajkummar Rao, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Saurabh Shukla, Ila Arun, Satish Kaushik, Jatin Sarna
Bollywood Bubble RatingWhat’s It About
Mahendra Singh Hooda (Rajkummar Rao) is a happy-go-lucky small town PT teacher inadvertently attracted to a computer teacher Neelima Mehra from the same school. He faces competition from a new PT teacher Mr Singh (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), who has proven excellence in those things where Mahendra aka Montu is bad. Will Montu succeed against Mr Singh for his love and respect? Well, for that you’ll have to watch the movie.
Rajkummar Rao has a proven track record that he can mould himself in each and every character that’s offered to him. This one is more in his home territory of Haryana, so the dialect and the body language is more natural to him. Rajkummar aces the happy-go-lucky Montu sir, who has a coming of age moment throughout the movie. It’s his performance and the unpredictability of what he would do next makes you want to watch ‘Chhalaang’ till the last scene is doled out.
Nushrat Bharucha, who now goes by the name of Nushrratt Bharuccha, has played something that you haven’t seen her ever before in. She has played the bubbly girl-next-door before, she has played the hard-to-get hottie before, but this time, she plays a mixture of the two. Not only is she a Delhi-educated girl returning back to a small town of Haryana to become a teacher, but she is also a girl-next-door at the core whose heart melts at the cutest antics of Rajkummar Rao. Quite a good mixture to play, and of course something that we haven’t seen her play in a really long time.
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, as Mr Singh, the triangle in the love story, is a treat to watch. Just like Rajkummar, there is hardly any role in which Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub doesn’t fit into. He somehow manages to exuberate the charm of the small-town boy in every character he plays with total comfort, and when needed he can bring out the classy metro-city guy as well. This movie was a great amalgamation of the two, which made his role come out even brighter than before. He steals the scene even in a little screen time.
Supporting actors like Saurabh Shukla, Satish Kaushik and Ila Arun may have lesser screen space, but they have proved why character artiste’s are important in any storyline. If you’ve great character artiste’s playing the supporting roles, you’re lead actors get an enormous boost to play their roles even better, and ‘Chhalaang’ is a fine example of the same.
The winner of all of it is the story by Luv Ranjan, Aseem Arrora, Zeishan Quadri and the brilliant direction by Hansal Mehta. The smacker of a storyline, which panders to being a sports drama, has proven to be a winner over and over in the past in films like ‘Lagaan’, ‘Chak De India’, ‘Chhichhore’, etc. This time over it does the trick once again.
The cinematography by Eeshit Narain is spot on as there are numerous slow-mo shots during the sports activities which come out even more beautiful thanks to the awesome videography. The editing by Akiv Ali and Chetan Solanki is also great as the film seems crisp and on point. There is hardly anything that you can cut out of the movie.
Lastly, the music by Hitesh Sonik, Guru Randhawa–Vee, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Vishal–Shekhar is also on the better side. You’ll have songs like Teri Choriyaan and Care Ni Kardi for your playlist once you’re done watching the movie.
The primary fault of the movie is the predictability of the storyline. If you’ve seen the trailer, then know from the start itself what’s going to happen in the movie. It doesn’t give you a bolt from the blue in the end as Nitesh Tiwari did in ‘Chhichhore’. So you know exactly what’s going to happen, and when it’s going to happen. For example, the moment you know that Kabaddi is going to be one of the sports to be played in between the two coach’s teams, you know that the closing shot would be of one of the members from the underdog’s team trying to reach for the middle line while the rest of the members of the other team latch onto him/her. Yes, it’s that predictable!
However, it’s the process that you enjoy watching.
To add to this, the makers have tried to impart some gender-equality advice and some sports-awareness. However, it isn’t the first time you’re getting this knowledge on film. Story of ‘Chak De India’ did harp on similar lines, so there is nothing that you didn’t know already.
If you’re into sports dramas and coming-of-age stories, then this is a must-watch for you. This is no ‘Chak De India’ and no ‘Chhichhore’, but this surely will stick on to you solely for Rajkummar Rao’s stellar performance and Hansal Mehta’s brilliant direction. I am going with 3.5 stars.