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Starring: Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Sharma
Director: Andy Muschietti
Genre: Comedy, Drama
RUNTIME: 144 Mins
Hindi film Chhichhore (the mischief-makers) is a coming-of-age comedy-buddy-drama featuring seven friends from 1992 to present day, where Student of the Year meets 3 Idiots and everything else made in Bollywood college campus.
Although the film lacks the air of In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones (1989), the innocence of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992) and the emotions of Dil Chahta Hai (2001), its distinct charm grins in the frantic fun of college hostel life and Hakuna-Matata style problem free “Fiker Not” philosophy.
Raghav (Mohammad Samad), the teenage son of high achieving parents Anirudh and Maya (Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor), battles for life in a hospital bed after he failed to clear the All- India entrance exams.
His divorced parents reunite with their old college friends in the intensive care unit after decades. The ragtag group of friends was known as “losers” at the National College of Technology Bombay. Their stories might help save the boy, who is afraid of being called a “loser”.
Dangal (“highest grossing Indian film ever”) director Nitesh Tiwari, who is also an ex-student of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, takes us on a nostalgia trip recalling his good ole engineering college days where we meet the film’s funniest characters with their apt nicknames – “Mummy” (Tuhar Panday) is the typical mother’s boy, “Acid” (Naveen Polishetty ) is a foul-mouthed friend and “Sexa” (played by brilliant Varun Thakur) is named after his adult magazine obsession. The college stud “Derek” (Tahir Raj Bhasin) and “Bevda” (Saharsh Shukla) joins later.
Despite the fact that their individual single traits brand them as one dimensional characters, the brilliant ensemble cast is the heart and soul of this underdog film as they convey sensitivity and nuances to make their characters believable.
The male-camaraderie is so vibrant that Maya and Anirudh’s college romance appears dull. Certainly their present day separation is less heart-breaking for us.
The screenplay by Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra is self-aware of its predictable nature and cleverly manages the character entries and flashbacks in neat transitions.
However, the biggest jar in the smooth screenplay is the prosthetics and make-up. After 20 years all the male characters has become bald or weirdly bearded but Maya has just changed her attire – her style seems to have time-travelled from one era to another.
Sushant Singh Rajput fits in his role as the awkward, introvert college student who matures as a workaholic father to a nervous wreck teenage son. Shraddha Kapoor is a radiant observer and Prateik Babbar – the one and only baddy in the buddy story shines as “Raggie”.
Writer-director Nitesh Tiwari’s ambitious venture Chhichhore celebrates the setbacks of a bunch of “losers” in an engineering college. With ample wit and humor; there are certain life lessons to be learnt too! We teach our youngsters to compete and celebrate success but almost never tell them that academic setbacks do not mean it is all over. We need to talk about failure.