Chaman Bahaar is a very confusing mixture of genres where you don’t really know whether to root for the character or not. For a large chunk of its run time, I was looking at it as a satire and then the movie started to act like a romantic comedy and this shifting from genre to genre was happening way too frequently. With a highly likable Jitendra Kumar playing a mostly unlikable Billu, Chaman Bahaar in the end is struggling to communicate its intentions.
So Billu is our hero and his father is the assistant of the DFO in his town. Billu wasn’t interested in that kind of a job and he decided to start a Paan shop in the neighborhood. But to his bad luck, the authorities made some changes like adding the town to a different district or something, and thus Billu’s shop eventually ended up in a deserted place. But things took a drastic turn when a good looking school going girl and her family shifted to the house opposite his shop. Every stalker in the town was there for a glance and the movie revolves around the influence of this girl in Billu’s life.
The movie is a fiesta of the male gaze and yet it is not as toxic as Kabir Singh. There is no character here that’s likable. Almost everyone is obsessed with this girl without knowing her a bit. It is better to approach this movie as a satire about the male ego. I think Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann also had the satiric element in his head when he began the story. But rather than showing us how the social conditioning made Billu one among the unlikeable, the movie is trying to enter that murky space where it is not sure whether to root for that character or not. And that confusion eventually forces it to break out from the satire space and the screenplay gets stretched out far too much.
Jitendra Kumar is top-notch in playing the ambitious rural guy. He is naïve, cunning, and also has a fragile ego. The reason why this problematic character stays with you is because of the earnest performance of Jitendra. The cluelessness in the beginning, the hope in the middle, and the despair in the end were performed beautifully by him. Bhuvan Arora and Dherendra Kumar Tiwari who played the Ramesh-Suresh like Somu and Chhotu were memorable.
Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann knows how to put the audience in the middle of the action. The dialect, the rural texture, and the ignorance and arrogance in characters, etc helps the movie in giving a picture to the viewer about the mindset of the characters they are going to see in the next two hours. But the script tries to be ambitious and we have moments like Billu getting released from jail and a rally happening in the town with him at the center of it. This decision to break away from that black comedy/ satire zone drags the movie way too much in terms of both content and length. The visuals were good while the pacing wasn’t that comfortable. The music is a bit indifferent when you look at the tone of the movie.
Chaman Bahaar is a movie that resembles its hero a lot. Both were good when they focused on one single thing. When they both became ambitious and went after multiple things even the good bits in the journey got forgotten.
Chaman Bahaar is a movie that resembles its hero a lot. When they both became ambitious and went after multiple things even the good bits in the journey got forgotten.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended