Santosh Pant is back on the screen; perhaps this is the most exciting news associated with the release of Chauka Dau. Besides this, there’s nothing new in the movie. Its usefulness is restricted to just adding one more production to the already overcrowded new film list.
Though the movie is filled with fun, the fun it offers is superficial and hollow. The story is unrealistic and artificially weaved. Of course, creative artists can go beyond reality and present what is impossible. However, the production is under par—it is not artistic, but cheap. It does not add any value to human society, neither does it evoke any emotion.
Let’s consider one of the initial scenes for example. One of the ‘four heroes’ falls into sewage in his desperate bid to escape an arrest after police raid their ‘gambling den’. The ‘diving’ is unintended, but he happens to find peace in it, and challenges police personnel to come to the sewage to arrest him.
Likewise, there are other scenes that degrade the dignity of the characters, just to make people laugh at them. One of the four men, who are at the centre of the story, is seen unconsciously releasing saliva from his mouth whenever he sees women, suggesting his uncontrollable lust. Two women who meet the group at a bar literally strip them and send them home in the underpants.
While such scenes trigger superficial laughter in the audience, some other scenes even fail to do so. A child falls from the roof of a multi-storey building while flying a kite. He, however, does not fall straight onto the ground; he manages to hang on to the roof of each floor below, dramatically. The audience members neither laugh nor cry, rather they feel fooled.
The overall plot is insubstantial. It is based on the assumption that men, regardless of their age and marital status, are sexually attracted to women. Of course, the assumption has theoretical foundations in the works of Freud and others. However, four people living in the same neighbourhood and desperately following a single woman from morning to evening and the lady tactfully maintaining an intimate relationship with each of them is not more than a farce.
The final revelation that everything was planned by two weak characters of the story, and the central lady and her boyfriend skillfully executed the plot is essentially a joke. It is far from the principles of possibility and necessity that an aesthetic art would demand.
The movie also includes two songs. The first song—Radha piyari—is a bit related to the context of the plot, but it is not beautifully composed and sung. The second song—Mero maya Qatar ma—does not have any relevance to the story. The choreography is poor in both of the songs. The dancers do not have matching attires and body movements. The songs could be justified only if the director intended to show mismatches in the characters’ life, symbolically in the songs and dances.
Mingling of two generations
The four heroes are played by famous actors of the cinema industry. Interestingly, they belong to two generations. Those from the first generation are: veteran television actor Santosh Pant and his longtime partner, Taiyab Shah. Youthful Wilson Bikram Rai and Rabindra Jha stand parallel to them.
Subtly, the two generations demonstrate different styles of acting in the movie; and they complement each other. The cast selection seems to be an interesting experiment by director Purnendu Jha, whose multiple experiments have failed in the past.
Whereas the four actors take the storyline forward, leading them is the lady, played by Barsha Raut. The actress has done justice to the role with her balanced acting.
Nevertheless, director Jha has forgotten to find a matching lady to become old sexagenarian Pant’s wife. The couple looks funny as the lady appears to be in her 40s. Further, she is not trained to deliver dialogues. She utters a spurt if sentences in a series as if she’s memorised her lines.
Ajashra Dhungana appears to be a minor character in the first three quarters of the movie, but plotwise, he turns out to be the real hero. His acting looks fine, but there is still space for polishing and refinement.
Finally, few positives
There are few things in the movie that look beautiful and creative. Its use of background music is well justified throughout the story as it helps the audience understand the mood and context. Likewise, the director has rightly chosen the setting of a sophisticated residential colony as the neighbourhood of the key characters. Camera work is fine. Different methods have been used creatively to show the transition between the scenes.
Watch the movie if you have time and money for light humour. If you are looking for some good reasons to laugh, the movie is worth spending two hours. But, its value is nothing more than a comic pastime.
Runtime: 115 minutes
Director: Purnendu Jha
Story: Shambhujeet Baskota
Screenplay: Abhimanyu Nirabi
Cast: Santosh Panta, Taiyab Shah, Wilson Bikram Rai, Rabindra Jha, Barsha Raut, Nirmal Sharma, Ajashra Dhungana, Sonika KC