Review | Chhello Show – Paradiso Abridged & Gujratified

Chhello Show is a Gujarati drama film directed by Pan Nalin. It stars Bhavin Rabari, Bhavesh Shrimali, Richa Meena, Dipen Raval and Paresh Mehta. The film has been selected as the Indian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards.

General Rating

In a nut-shell:

Paradiso Abridged & Gujratified

Let’s admit it right away. It is a slim chapter from the awesome scale of Guiseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso that writer-director Pan Nalin has condensed into a film of his own.

It’s such a conscious effort to be Indian that protagonist Samay (Bhavin Rabari) is a teaseller’s son, yes, yes, at a small railway station called Chalala. It couldn’t get more obviously ‘Modified’ or ‘Gujaratified’.

Schoolboy Samay’s utter fascination for cinema, the stealing and sneaking to be at Galaxy theatre instead of his classroom, and his unique relationship with projectionist Fazal (Bhavesh Shrimali) are straight out of Tornatore’s classic. But while Paradiso was a full nine-course meal that had World War, absentee dads, yearnings, changing times, compulsions, romance, family bonds and lost love running alongside the complete passion for cinema, Pan Nalin’s is a smaller film that tiptoes only around Samay, Fazal and cinema reels.

It’s tough to but if one could switch off from the 1991 Oscar winner and look solely at the chaiwala from Chalala, it is a sweet little film that oozes family and friendship topped off with food. And however humble the surroundings, there’s fun, smiles and little stress as Samay and friends cycle away merrily, lay bets on the lions yawning across them and Ma (Richa Meena) packs the most delicious lunches every day. Swapnil S Sonawane catches Ma’s cooking with the loving lens of a foodie.         

Samay is a telling name for the passage of time as the tea stall must go when the broad gauge comes in and trains stop halting at Chalala. The projector gives way to the digital, life is a recycling process. Brahmanical Bapu (Dipen Raval) who looked down at cinema shifts mental gears at the discovery of his son’s self-taught projections, the kids’ enthusiasm for innovation and the joy of the moving image, urging Samay to go chase his passion. Paradiso mingles with Nalin’s own story to get a life of its own. 

Watchable, yes. Oscar material, we have our reservations.  

Watch Chhello Show Trailer:

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Paradiso Abridged & GujratifiedReview | Chhello Show - Paradiso Abridged & Gujratified