Films | Chala Mussadi – Office Office -Review

Chala Mussadi – Office Office -Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on August 5, 2011 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Rajiv Mehra, Rajesh Mehra, Umesh Mehra
DIRECTOR – Rajiv Mehra
WRITER – Ashwani Dheer
CAST – Pankaj Kapoor, Deven Bhojani, Manoj Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra and Hemant Pandey
MUSIC – Sajid Wajid

Developed from the popular TV series about the common man, Office Office, Chala Mussadi, tells the tale of the symbolic Mussadilal Tripathy and his travails at the hands of the System.

The original series is a satire in the vein of black comedy. The film tries to be bit more. It tells the story of Mussadilal struggling to prove himself alive so that he can get his pension. The plot makes for interesting ironical drama.

The film begins with Mussadilal trying to get his wife admitted to the hospital for a kidney problem. His wife dies a victim of corruption and incompetence and Mussadilal sets off on a pilgrimage to immerse the ashes of his dead wife. At every turn he meets corruption, the dirtiest face of the way our country functions. On his return he learns he has been bookmarked as dead in Government files and his pension stopped. He faces the twisted ghost of corruption again but this time it is so warped he has to resort to a mix of idealism and trickery. Will he succeed?

Given what the film sets out to do, this question becomes more like ‘how does he do it?’ the resolution being evident, this being a film. The declaratory intent of social awakening is not loud but evident and probably therein lies the biggest deviation from the series, which is a tongue-in-cheek expose of the dilemmas of the common man and not life-altering drama like the film.

The route the film takes is of weaving in pathos, angst and drama in equal measure. It resorts to farce and stretches symbolism to its limits using the same actors in various characters to signify the insidiousness of the disease of corruption. While, this technique works to good cinematic advantage, the narrative gets pulled with over the top performances and over-telling.

This over-telling reduces the impact of Mussadilal’s trauma and removes the viewer from the real helplessness of his situation. Trying hard to be low-brow and close to reality it employs stereotypes in secondary characters but fails to evoke a strong chemistry between them. Mussadilal, the symbol of the helpless common man then becomes a removed entity, when he is actually simply each one of us.

The film has a strong casting with performers like Deven Bhojani, Manoj Pahwa, Sanjay Mishra and Hemant Pandey in various characters. But the over-the-top treatment and naïve idealism lends little to their efforts. Pankaj Kapoor’s performance surprisingly comes across as lacklustre, with less of the conviction than what he displays in the TV series, where he almost consistently has won an award for the best performer for a number of years.

For a feel-good idealism, the film does its job well. But for the times in which we live in it proves naïve and jingoistic, bringing all it does on the table to a naught. Guess, we shall have to stick to the TV series.

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