Friday, January 13, 2012

Chaalis Chauraasi 

Four To Tangle

Chaalis Chauraasi is the kind of the film that gets made because a film has to be made.  Finance has been organised, enough to sign up good actors, not stars. There is an idea—maybe even a script—that looks good on paper.  Comedy usually goes down well with audiences.  At least three of the four lead actors have enough fans between them to ensure that shows don’t get cancelled on day one, because nobody bought a ticket.
That said, Hriday Shetty has made a very ordinary caper comedy, and the best thing to be said about it is that it has as many irritants, as it has twists. And the non-linear format lends it some sparks of suspense.
The four main characters arel small time criminals with ambition, who could do with a financial leg up.  Pankaj Suri or ‘Sir’  (Naseeruddin Shah paying tribute to himself) was an English professor who has completed a jail sentence for murder and now works as a driver; Kay Kay Menon is Albert Pinto, a car thief; Bobby (Atul Kulkarni) is a failed singer-turned-pimp and Shakti (Ravi Kishen) is a drug dealer. (All four named after films.)
When the film opens the four are driving around in a police van, stopping on the way to chase a speeding driver and then to dance at a bar. Soon it is revealed just who they are and why they are pretending to be cops. Their back stories also take pit stops for laboured comedy and item numbers.
Turns out Sir has found a place where illegal cash is stowed and he recruits the other three to help him steal it.  But a real cop (Rajesh Sharma), in search of a gangster rains on their perfect plan. The four are roped in to help raid a seedy hotel to arrest the gangster (Zakir Hussain), and that is the crux of the story.
It’s a simple plot stretched beyond endurance; the director goes for a realistic treatment, but then the acting is over the top, some characters are caricatures (Sir’s employers) or plain annoying (the gangsters guarding the stash).  A film aiming to be a comedy needs a lot more humour,  a crackling pace, and protagonists who are such losers that they get the audience rooting for them.
Chalees Chauraasi can be sat through, but it’s not a must see asap film.


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