Dear Rajkummar Rao
We’ve all been noting the big leaps you’ve been taking from one genre to the other. Most of it has been successful as a performer. But this week, while you were endearing in Ludo, you were so disappointingly predictable in Chhalaang. In fact there are quite a few four-letter words that come to mind while sleeping through Chhalaang.
After fine and feisty films like Shahid and Aligarh that you made with director Hansal Mehta, Chhalaang was low in energy and d-u-l-l, dull.
The ultimate message that sports should be a vital component in a child’s growth is what the Prime Minister has been rightly endorsing and emphasising for years. It’s a noble message that the film seeks to convey.
But surely Hansal and you do know that noble thoughts must be matched by a sparkling screenplay to put the message across.
The story of Montu, a lazy small town PT teacher who can’t be bothered about getting up and doing anything fruitful for his students is a b-o-r-e, bore.
Montu’s awakening to win over Neelima, the new computers teacher, is hardly refreshing territory, is it? And what was all that about being an anti-Valentine’s Day vigilante? It sprang up without any credible background thought.
The chemistry between Nilu and Montu where she inexplicably reciprocates his feelings is z-e-r-o, zero.
Planting Inder Mohan Singh as a rival sports teacher to bring out the competitive streak in Montu was another done to death premise. Pitching two teams against each other to decide who’s better was also a rusty relic.
Yes, some of the training methods that Montu employed were novel. But that’s it. Feeling a distinct disconnect with what was unfolding on the screen, there was no excitement in the clash, no build-up to wanting to cheer the underdog.
There was a feeble attempt to be progressive. But is a woman having a drink with her future father-in-law all it requires to be a feminist? With dialogues that rhyme naukri and chokri, it was f-a-i-l, fail for the writer.
There was no exuberance in the romance, music or performances. I’m sorry, Rajkummar. Despite the numerology in the spellings of Nushrratt Bharuccha and Zeeshan Ayyub, and the labored Haryanvi accent by all of you, this match was w-e-a-k, weak. Better luck next time.
Bharathi S Pradhan