Chaalis Chauraasi is not our typical Bollywood Hindi masala comedy. The producers haven’t gone all out to publicize the film but it has been a winner in its own way by setting a trend in Bollywood. It is a slapstick comedy like Golmaal and Dhamaal, which are the conventional Hindi comedies that make you roll with laughter and also set the box office on fire at the same time. Meanwhile, it’s a pity movies like Chaalis Chauraasi don’t receive much box office success. This one may not be hilarious but it sure does have a few giggles in store for us. It has a few comical situations and most importantly, four brilliant actors playing the lead roles, Naseeruddin Shah, Kay Kay Menon, a car thief Atul Kulkarni, a bar singer and Ravi Kissen, a drug dealer.
It is a story of four friends who go around bluffing about robbing a deserted house of twenty crores. They roam around using a police van, pretending to be policemen, with the aim of raiding the place, but without a foolproof plan to do so. Soon this deception turns into reality when they encounter a real policeman on their way. Their effort to fulfill their dreams of becoming millionaires some day is the story that follows.
The story begins well with witty dialogues and situations amongst the four imposters and their unlawful acts as policemen. But as soon as their characters start shaping up, the storyline becomes dreary and boring. But after the interval the story picks pace and becomes entertaining again, with amusing events that follow.
The three men have delivered unimaginable performances in the movie. In fact they are so convincing that they come across as good friends in real life too. Naseeruddin Shah, as usual has been incredible. His performance reminds us of his old days as the charming actor that he still is. Especially in the remix of the Pakistani song of the 80’s, Hawa Hawa he has reproduced his old dance moves. It is exciting to see Ravi Kissen in a Hindi movie after quite a while. Kay Kay Menon has interestingly switched characters from being a coward to a brave man, and has done a splendid job while doing so. His famous half funny, half confused expression has charmed people all over again. The music otherwise was a complete disaster. It has failed to titillate and engross the audiences. We have seen a lot of honest efforts after munni badnam hui, to reproduce the same and create foot tapping item numbers, but all in vain. This definitely wasn’t even close to achieving that.
The director, Hriday Shetty has come a long way from the films he has made in his initial days. There are sequences in the movie, which transform you from the past to the transition period. They are well shot and fascinatingly written. The direction is innovative and appealing in its own way. He has got the actors to deliver stellar performances, which were in reality the saving grace of the film.
These four veterans, with an impeccable comic timing as usual, don’t just manage to keep us involved through the dragged story, but also manage to make us laugh, which is an achievement in itself. Talented actors sometimes rescue a film when the script is collapsing. Chaalis Chauraasi is one such example.