After the controversy of non-payment of dues, ‘Motichoor Chaknachoor’ finally got its theatrical release on November 15, 2019.
Directed by- Debamitra Biswal
Produced by- Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, Rajesh Bhatia, Kiran Bhatia
Starring- Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Athiya Shetty, Vibha Chibber, Navni Parihar, Vivek Mishra
Anita Tripathi aka Ani, played by Athiya Shetty lives by just one dream – to travel abroad and update it on social media (particularly facebook) and induce FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) amongst people. And the shortcut to her aspirations, such as seeing Burj Khalifa, London Eye, and Statue of Liberty, is getting married – even if she has to settle for Pushpinder played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui (we are not saying this as the film judges its protagonist).
The film is set in a small-town milieu of two joint families, settled in the same courtyard. Now with the utterance of small-town, films like ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi,’ and ‘Stree’ come up, which were super entertaining and greatly satisfying. Why these films were a success in a middle-class, small-town precis is because the story remains the hero, and the milieu complements it to enhance its flavour.
Where Motichoor Chaknachoor falls short is it focuses on the small-town setup and then frames the story around it to idealize the setting to make it more relatable. Hence, the amusement and the hilarity of the premise does not seem organic.
Besides, the setting of the film is also claustrophobic. The characters often seem to move from one room to another in several rooms, which are mostly interconnected. This way, the cinematography, and the story look chaotic – which hints at the deliberate insertion of complexity in the narrative.
However, the film is well-informed about its region’s cultural limitation – such as age difference; the girl is 22, and the guy is 36, height difference; she is tall, and he is short — just the opposite of how society approves of it, also their skin colour. But somehow, nothing is touched upon well.
The film strives to talk about colourism, dowry, and other conventions and the stereotypes of the society but somehow ends up joking about a man slapping a woman, and make a monkey out of a woman who is a lawyer by profession but overweight. All
Throughout, the film keeps switches from being a social commentary with great subtlety to being an aspiring film who wants to fit in a specific type of genre. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who played Pushpinder Tyagi, as usual, was at his best, but his character turns out to be an ideal who denies dowry. But definitely, this sex-driven, small-town character is still a lot of fun to watch.
Another protagonist, Athiya Shetty, has come out of an unintelligent, frivolous universe of sex comedies and played the character of a superficial, unworldly girl with heavy Bundelkhandi dialect. And she looks quite convincing, especially when compared with the other characters she has played in the past.
Together, they are not only fun but have something to say about the transactional nature of marriage. A lot happens, and a zillion touchpoints or stereotypes are handled concurrently. Like, dowry (which is still prevalent in India), Ani’s obsession with Dubai for which she can get married to a man she doesn’t find attractive. Or, Siddiqui who wants to get married because of parental pressure and, most importantly, a beautiful woman like Ani, which seems beyond imagination for him.
The other powerful actors of the film are Vibha Chibber, Navni Parihar, Karuna Pandey who made the characters look real and compelling.
Despite having a strong star cast of veteran actors, the film misses the mark since it seems to be trying too much to be correct and appealing to the mass.