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Chaurahen  : Crossroads With No Connect
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Friday, March 16, 2012
Rajshree Ojha
Zeenat Aman, Soha Ali Khan, Ankur Khanna, Arundati Nag, Karthik Kumar, Victor Banerjee, Roopa Ganguly, Kiera Chaplin, Shayan Munshi, Nedumudi Venu
Three different stories set in Mumbai, Kochi and Kolkata all bound by a common element too feeble to hold the script together – a diametrically opposite release from the director of Aisha, getting into the arthouse circuit this time.

The plot: The film goes back and forth around three stories. Farook (Ankur Khanna) and Ira (Soha Ali Khan) are a couple struggling to get rid of the ghosts of his parents who are not letting him move ahead with his life.  Mr Nair (Nedumudi Venu) and Mrs Nair (Arundhati Nag) still have their cheeks moist over the death of their younger son. They rest all their hopes on the older offspring Nandu (Karthik Kumar) who has returned from Vienna leaving his happiness there. Guilt strangles Nandu as he keeps fighting between his happiness and his responsibilities. And then there is subservient housewife Mrs Bose (Roopa Ganguly) who blames herself and her husband Mr Bose (Victor Banerjee) for their child’s death. He nurses the same emotions due to which exchanges between them have petered out, leading him to seek emotional and physical comfort from Lia (Kiera Chaplin).

The good: The film is a contemporary attempt to reflect the mundane dimensions of our lives. The characters subtly exude problems which make them look like they are stuck somewhere in life without being able to live in peace. Each story ultimately shows some signs of overcoming each problem, giving it a happy winding up. There are some really good lines and proverbs which might appeal to the connoisseur of literature. Talking about literature, the film has been constructed by fastening three short stories by eminent Hindi writer Nirmal Verma.  The film has Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, as Lia and she is convincing in her role that borders on being a mistress. She makes her presence felt amongst talented actors like Victor Banerjee and Zeenat Aman. The others have performed decently enough to bring that dash of realism to their characters and not overdo it at any time.

The bad: As expected, there isn’t much humour or entertainment but there’s literature and some philosophy too. Unfortunately what disappoints the most is the way the characters of all three stories are brought together to converge at some point. The ending looks forced and doesn’t match the genre of the film it was trying to be. Even the story of Shayan Munshi and Zeenat Aman doesn’t add any substance to the film. It gets slow at times (when Farook is showing Ira the room) and predictable (specially the Kolkata one).

Overall: A different experience that reminds you of National Award winning film I Am. However, this one lacks the strength to hold up all the stories together.

– Pooja Thakkar
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