Best Hindi Film: Chhichhore Photograph:( Instagram )
'Chhichhore' has the usual tropes of a typical commercial college-drama, yet it is refreshingly real and delivers a very relevant message beautifully wrapped in nostalgia.
Bollywood has churned out campus-stories since time immemorial. Campus-dramas, sports-dramas set in campuses, college-romances are just some of the themes that have been explored by the makers. Most of these films paint a rather rosy picture of the regular college life- complete with romance, over the top classrooms and campuses, a lot of life-changing moments, drama and almost always nothing on actual education.
Nitesh Tiwari's latest film 'Chhichhore' has the usual tropes of a typical commercial college-drama, yet it is refreshingly real and delivers a very relevant message beautifully wrapped in nostalgia.
To save his son, Raghav, who has lost the zeal to live after failing the IIT-JEE entrance exams, Anirudh aka Anni (Sushant Singh Rajput) goes back in time to narrate stories from his college life. Both he and his wife Maya (Shraddha Kapoor) are former students of a premier engineering college and as their son, Raghav thinks he has failed them and himself by not qualifying to any of the colleges. Anni then decides to revisit his own college life and with the help of his buddies from the hostel, recounts the time the group had competed for a General Championship in sports back in their times. He co-story tellers, Sexa (Varun Sharma), Acid (Navin Polishetty), Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin), Mummy (Tushar Pandey) and Saharsh Shukla (Bevda) re-tell the story and take Raghav and the the audience back in 1992 where the boys, the underdogs, fight it out with reigning champs of Hostel 3- lead by Reggie(Prateik Babbar) for the GC trophy.
Much like 'Student Of The Year 2' which released earlier this year, the concentration is solely on the sports championship. But unlike SOTY, the backdrop is far more real and thereby relatable. The friends of Anni maybe stereotypical- one is a porn addict, the other is cusses a bit too much and one is a Mumma's boy- but at so many instances you would find yourself laughing at the uncanny similarity that each of these characters has with people you know in reality.
Written by Tiwari along with Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Malhotra, the film is spruced with humour and wit which may ever so often steer towards underpants, yet provides the laughter. The narrative is non-linear, keeps oscillating between past and present but you will find yourself reminiscing about the good old days with Anni and his gang of 'losers'. The only time that the story slips is at the points where the friends, sitting at Anni's apartment speak jargons about the education system, parental pressure, and rat race. It feels preachy and not a conversation between old friends and those scenes are perhaps the only unrealistic and melodramatic scenes in the film.
The film's best moments are saved for Polishetty and Sharma, who get the best lines and are pitch-perfect in their respective roles. Bhasin as the silent sports hero is also impressive and so is Panday as the ever nervous Mumma's boy. Rajput delivers a balanced performance- he is usually genuine in most of his films and he doesn't disappoint in this one either. His scenes in the flashback where he plays the college fresher full of ideas though suffers from a Shah Rukh Khan hangover. Shraddha Kapoor gets fewer lines but is convincing as the quiet, observant Maya.
Wrapped in nostalgia, the film delivers an important point that there's no point being in a rat race. A line in the song 'Fikar Not' from the film suggests that one can sprint to the end line or finish it at the pace of a tortoise- the pace is not important neither should one rush to finish it on time. It is more important to be earnest in what you do.
'Chhichhore' of course takes multiple liberties - especially in scenes that are shot in the hospital (no hospital allows five people to be hovering around a patient in the ICU), but those flaws are pardonable simply because it delivers an important point and takes you back to college life- a time that most people believe is the best phase of their lives.
Watch it for the actors and their onscreen camaraderie, watch it for its nostalgia.