‘CHANDIGARH KARE AASHIQUI’ IS A FUN FILM TO WATCH, WITH SOME FLAWS

Rating: 3/5
Director Abhishek Kapoor imparts a social message keeping the film humorous and quirky, but misses the overall charm

Probably the first Hindi film on such a subject. Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui makes you uncomfortable asking you to be and remain comfortable. Smart. Intelligent. Posing difficult questions and asking you to answer for yourself, the film rightly aims at normalising gender notions, by initiating a meaningful conversation on something hidden deep down under. While the message is important, the film still lacks in entirety making an overall statement.

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

Manvinder aka Manu (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a weightlifting champion in Chandigarh sweating it out in the gym, all the time. Enters Maanvi Brar (Vaani Kapoor), the Zumba trainer. The young bloods fall in love. But Manu doesn’t know that Maanvi is a transwoman, who has undergone gender reassignment surgery.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

The story idea is Simran Sahni’s. The screenplay is written by Abhishek Kapoor, Tushar Paranjape and Supratik Sen. The idea has merit. The screenplay does portray the essence but not fully with vigour. You do see emotions and drama playing their parts individually but overall in the fervour of the film, they seem fragmented. They come and go which is a good thing in parts for you to have faith in what’s playing. Although the screenplay completely talks about the main point of focus, the binding is missing.

Right from the initial setup of the characters, you get an idea of the mental psyche of the people involved, which later becomes a point of conflict for the narrative. That has been smart writing. There is suspense in the early portions of the film, surrounding Maanvi’s character. The point where it unfolds is also engaging to watch. There is an intimate scene where it sort of hits you more directly. That is one mature scene where unlike other intimate scenes which aim to arouse, this one aims to explore a woman’s desire, which it rightly does. Thanks to brilliant body language and expressions by Vaani.

chandigarh kare aashiqui, review, film, hindi, 2021
Vaani Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana with director Abhishek Kapoor on sets (image source: columnculture.com)

The conversations are struck maturely. The emotional quotient of the story is on point, in the scenes when it dominates. The weak point of the film is that such scenes are too few. This film needed more depth and more maturity in terms of gender notions. A little more deliberation on- the seriousness of the issue, the procedure, the pain a person goes beyond just dialogues, a man accepting a woman after she’s transformed, instances on societal norms and taboos- would have created magic. Magic that you crave for here. As an urban audience (who the film is targeted at), you do understand the gravity but the casual approach takes it away.

The climax of the film is also a big letdown. Accepting in person and in front of the world are two different things. Your hero does both. Good. But the route he takes, or rather what he is made to take by the makers doesn’t seem to bring such a serious matter to its correct justification. It is there. That’s it. But not convincing. Winning a competition there doesn’t prove to be an effective way of accepting the person the way she is.

Also the parallel track involving Manu’s father’s love angle is also adding to the taboo notion but not rightfully to the main story. It is also brought to fulfillment just like that. Or because the film was nearing its end? The title of the film has Chandigarh and it would have been interesting to see more of its flavour other than Ayushmann’s accent.

PERFORMANCES

Vaani Kapoor performs strongly and with ease. She nails not only her sexy avatar but also emerges victorious in her emotional side. It is good to see her act well in a role that is mature, has a say of her own, and also has meanings and layers to offer the narrative. It’s a character that will be remembered for being strong and independent. Good work by Vaani.

Ayushmann Khurrana has evidently worked hard on his body. And his acting has already been proven to be phenomenal. He suits the role to the core giving you a great time.

chandigarh kare aashiqui, film, hindi, review, 2021
Scenes from the film (image source: youtube.com)

Goutam and Gourav Sharma are hilarious and interesting to watch. The twin brothers bring fun in the film just by their presence.

Anjan Srivastava in a small role is okay. So is Kanwaljeet Singh. You like them because you know they are good.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

Music and score by Sachin-Jigar, both are reasonably good. The songs do bind the film. They don’t bore you, are good to listen to and fun to watch. The score also is decent. So good work there.

Cinematography by Manoj Lobo is vibrant. It could capture the essence of Chandigarh better as there is so much to the city which could add to the narrative. Infact it would have been more sensible to incorporate more outdoor locations in the frames. But given that the film is shot in lockdown, it is a decent work. Production design by Bindiya Chhabria is also thoughtful, working in sync with camera. The sets are created with insight on giving the film complete visual immersive nature.

Editing by Chandan Arora is fair as far as writing is concerned. The written content could be more so as to give more scope to the editor to play with things at hand. The structure is nice and rounded.

The opportunity to spark a conversation could have been transformed into a more meaningful discussion. Sadly, it doesn’t happen. It’s good that a film on this issue is made. But doesn’t give full justice.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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