Films | FILM – Chaurahen

FILM – Chaurahen

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on March 16, 2012 | No Comments

FILM – Chaurahen
PRODUCER – Pramod Ojha
DIRECTOR – Rajshree Ojha
WRITER –Rajshree Ojha, Anuvab Pal
CAST – Zeenat Aman, Victor Banerjee, Kiera Chaplin, Roopali Ganguly, Soha Ali Khan, Ankur Khanna, Karthik Kumar
MUSIC – Manikan Kadri

Several stories of unconnected people joined together by a single theme is no longer a new form of narrative. Chaurahen takes multiple characters and yokes them with the distress of being stuck in the past.

The title, ‘Chaurahen’ means cross-roads, at once evoking images of turmoil, choices, decisions and emotional turbulence. There is a Bengali couple whose marriage has come to the edge for the lack of accepting their child’s death for two decades. There is a Malayali family groping with the fresh sorrow of their soldier son passing away. There is a young man refusing to change anything about the room his late father inhabited. There is a young foreigner girl seeking momentum after having torn herself away from her roots. They are offset by people who yearn to move on; a dreamy, philosophical girl wanting to find herself by drifting and a young homosexual trying to grope with being the second-best with his parents.

The film draws a rich tapestry of characters deeply caught in their past and contrasts their actions with a poetic and free-flowing narrative. But the manner of speaking it adopts is halting, largely an editing flaw. Lives of characters remain separate chapters rather than flowing in and out seamlessly. There is a distinct attempt to remain sublime and the dialogue is clearly written to that end. But unfortunately the effort to be evolved becomes obtuse and unengaging. The tone is earnest but result awkward.

The film is filled with a heavy-weight cast and from across several regional industries. There is Victor Banerjee and Roopa Ganguly, stalwarts of Bengali cinema, Arundhati Nag, veteran South Indian actress and a multi-lingual theatre personality, Zeenat Aman, yester-year Bollywood’s ultra glam queen and Keira Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin’s great-grand-daughter among others. Yet, somehow the film fails to become a captivating narrative of poetic expression it strives so hard to be. Most interactions seem staged and the ones that require flourish are unfortunately subdued by an understated treatment.

The choice of using English also goes wrong for the film. Flitting between clipped, correct accents and native tones, the film fluctuates between its own world of expression even if remaining true to its characters’. The language and the articulation of poetic lines makes the performances also seem far more theatrical than warranted.

The film is a journey piece, meant to be savour bite-by-bite. It is an original and honest attempt at creative exploration, but one that unfortunately does not really come alive most of the time.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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