'Chhichhore' Review: Abandons realism for melodrama

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Writer-director Nitesh Tiwari is currently one of the best filmmakers working in Hindi cinema. The IIT Bombay Alumnus gave up on a successful career in advertising before making a foray into Bollywood. His directorial debut Chillar Party went on to win the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film. He subsequently directed Amitabh Bachchan in Bhoothnath Returns which was a big commercial success. But it was his third film Dangal that ended up breaking all kinds of box-office records. It proved to a huge critical and commercial success, both nationally as well as internationally. Tiwari has also co-written screenplays for Nil Battey Sannata and Bareilly Ki Barfi, which have been directed by his wife Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari. Now he is back with his fourth directorial venture Chhichhore after a hiatus of 3 years.

Chhichhore stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Sharma, Prateik Babbar, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Naveen Polishetty, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, and Nalneesh Neel. It follows a group of friends from their college days as engineering students as they go their own separate ways before fate finally reunites in their middle-age. Chhichhore is not one film but many films wrapped into one. The film has shades of 3 IdiotsOctoberStudent of the Year, and Fukrey, among other films. Nitesh Tiwari shows us again how good he is when it comes to telling inspirational stories. But he also disappoints because after Dangal we expect works of greater originality and importance from him. However, there is nothing lacking in his direction. In fact, seeing the kind of control he exercises on the film one gets a sense that right now he is working at the height of his creative powers. One wonders what he would have achieved working with material that’s both original and superior in quality.
The two best things (it’s definitely not make-up) about Chhichhore are Charu Shree Roy’s imaginative editing and Varun Sharma’s comic brilliance. It appears Sushant Singh Rajput will have to wait a little more to turn the tide (he badly needs a change of luck now given the rather lackluster showing of Raabta and Sonchiriya and Kedarnath). After Stree, we naturally expect a little more from Shraddha Kapoor and so it is a bit disappointing to see her getting underutilized in Chhichhore. However, the supporting performances are all good and quite believable. Naveen Polishetty as Acid, Tahir Raj Bhasin as Derek, and Tushar Pandey as Mummy deserve special mention. Also, Nalneesh Neel makes a rather brief but memorable role. Chhichhore, for the most part, abandons realism in favor of melodrama and that’s precisely why it pales in comparison to the topical brilliance of something as well researched and hard hitting as Kota Factory. But, if you are feeling low and looking for some inspiration in your life then Chhichhore will not disappoint you.
Rating: 6/10

A version of this review was first published in The Sunday Guardian.
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