Chhatriwali, the new Bollywood film starring Rakul Preet Singh in the central role, feels like a stretched-out government advertisement that wants to endorse safe sex by encouraging the use of condoms. But the movie directed by Tejas Deoskar has no original ideas to build a story around the theme. For almost 80% of its runtime, you are reminded of Vicky Donor, a film that did “messaging” flawlessly and seamlessly.
Set in Karnal, the story is about a chemistry graduate named Sanya. She hasn’t managed to get a job, and one day her expertise in chemistry impresses Mr. Ratan Lamba, the owner of a condom factory. Lamba offers Sanya the position of a condom quality tester. Initially hesitant to take up the job, Sanya eventually agrees to do it. In a society that finds topics like sex taboo, how this job becomes a headache for Sanya is what we see in Chhatriwali.
The fact that the percentage of safe sex is alarmingly low in a country like India definitely makes a movie like Chhatriwali a relevant one. But other than this “social message” element, there is absolutely nothing in the movie on a creative level. A large portion of this film is a shoddy Vicky Donor replica. If Vicky was hesitant to be a sperm donor, here Sanya has the same issue as being a condom tester. They are both hiding their jobs to their partners and family. They both face backlash when the families get to know about this work. Towards the climax, you would hope they would take a different step. But sadly, that different step is an oversimplified lecture.
Rakul Preet Singh is in that loud bubbly zone in this movie. But if you look at how the whole film is written, there is very little she can do to make the movie look any good. Sumeet Vyas is wasted in the role of Sanya’s husband. The talented veteran Rajesh Tailang plays the role of Sanya’s brother-in-law. Thankfully, his experience that makes the performance look a bit subtle saves the movie from being a bland daily soap. Ironically Dolly Ahluwalia, who played the role of Vicky’s mother in Vicky Donor, is playing Sanya’s mother in Chhatriwali. The Annu Kapoor equivalent role is played by Sathish Kaushik in this movie.
From a creative aspect, the movie is an absolute dud as the makers are very formulaic about the story’s construction. The script’s predictability is a major drawback, as the film simply skips through events and conflicts. While the Ayushmann Khurrana starrer humanized the characters and evoked empathy in us, Tejas Deoskar and his writers are only bothered about messaging the audience about the need for protected sex and the relevance of sex education in schools. The song placements are not smooth.
When you are trying to attempt these “issue-based” movies, being impactful is a significant and fundamental thing. A creation that looks like the two-hour version of the Akshay Kumar starrer Padman anti-smocking ad is not what the audience is anticipating. The issue addressed by the movie is pertinent, but its solution is too convenient and impractical.
The issue addressed by the movie is pertinent, but its solution is too convenient and impractical.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended