Banners: Fox Star Studios, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment
Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Sharma, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Navin Polishetty, Tushar Pandey, Saharsh Shukla, Prateik Babbar
Writers: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Nikhil Mehrotra
College life is one of the most memorable times of our life. The friends we make in college and the experiences we have often become the driving force behind the people we finally become. And if most of that college life has been spent in a hostel, then life has a different flavour altogether.
Hindi cinema is not new to movies made on college friendships and college life. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Dil Chahta Hai, 3 Idiots, Student Of The Year, are some such films that captured college friendships and the dynamics. With Chhichhore, Nitesh Tiwari puts himself in a similar zone. The film will remind you of each of these abovementioned films and then, maybe not. Having said that, there is an important message that Chhichhore wants to give and that has been presented well.
The protagonist of Chhichhore is Anirudh Pathak. His son aspires to get into the engineering field. Anirudh and his wife encourage the boy, but he is tensed about his results. When a tragedy strikes the family, their relationships are put to test. During this difficult time, Anirudh connects with his college friends who promptly come to Mumbai in person to support the family get through this rough patch. In the process, they relive their college days including how they became friends, the rival gangs in the hostel they studied and the fight to win the ultimate sports competition on the campus.
Nitesh Tiwari who gave us the extremely well-written and well-executed Dangal, once again presents a heartwarming story. Along with co-writers Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra, Tiwari makes Chhichhore an interesting watch from start to finish. The dialogues are clever and funny and definitely elicite laughs at the right places. What makes this film a gem is the screenplay. The transition from the past college life to the present is seamless and woven together beautifully. As the story in the flashback has obstacles that characters face, the story in the present also hinges on similar problems. While the first half of the film has its fun as well as emotional moments, the second half is thrilling and keeps you on the edge as to what will happen next. The unexpected climax is what makes Chhichhore not only different from the aforementioned college movies but also lends it just the right finishing touch.
While the writers capture the college nostalgia and the chemistry between the friends beautifully, when we come to the present, there are a couple of loose ends. The dynamics between Anirudh and his wife is not explained and explored enough. Yes, it may not be necessary in the larger scheme of things, but their relationship, even in the college flashback could have had more layers. But there are some stand out scenes between them, especially when they talk for the first time. It is such a funny but lovable scene. Also, while the nostalgic moments connect at every point, the dramatic scenes in the hospital are not as emotional as one would have expected them to be.
The hostel life has been captured beautifully. The authenticity of the entire setting is what connects Chhichhore with the viewer, especially if you are in your mid-40s and/or have stayed in a hostel, the bonding between the characters will immediately touch hearts. The attention to detail is another aspect that needs to be applauded. From the clothes of the characters to their hairstyles, from props like the Goldspot bottle or the pornographic magazines, everything belongs to the time period that the story is set in. Cut to the present looks of the characters, most of it looks fine, except maybe it could have looked less fake for some of them.
Pritam’s music works well with the narrative.
Before talking about the performances, full marks to the casting department because each actor fits their character rather well. Sushant Singh Rajput as Anirudh is endearing. As a young college student, he strikes the balance between innocence and shrewdness. He brings a certain charm to the character. As an older Anirudh, he hits the right emotional notes. His exchanges with his son are particularly done well. Shraddha Kapoor as Maya has done a good job. From being a college student to a middle-aged lady, she carries herself well in both parts. Varun Sharma as Sexa has some of the funniest lines. His comedy is not loud, but at the same time, he manages to make Sexa stand out. As Derek, Tahir Raj Bhasin is wonderful to watch. His intense demeanour is the highlight of the character, at the same time he brings in a certain vulnerability as well. Navin Polishetty as Acid has a ball of a time. Mouthing expletives, he is at absolute ease with his character. It is like this part was written by specifically keeping him in mind. Tushar Pandey as Mummy does a good job. He is fun to watch. Saharsh Shukla as Bevda is present only in the second half of the film, but he manages to impress in his scenes. Prateik Babbar as Raggie does a decent job.
Verdict: Super hit