Chhalaang, now streaming on Amazon Prime, is yet another film with Hansal Mehta Rajkummar Rao collaboration after critically acclaimed Shahid, Aligarh, Citylights and Omerta. Known for many realistic, serious subjects, the jodi has for the first time taken up a rather light subject.
Chhalaang has a very simple and predictable plot. Chhalaang is based in the Haryana heartland is the story of a PT teacher Rao (Montu/Mahinder), who is not at all ambitious and is very happy with his life there.
Montu is content with his job and spends time wandering and drinking with his friend and ex teacher Shukla ji (brilliant Sourabh Shukla). Montu along with that does some moral policing on valentine day where his group punishes the couples in the park.
Enters computer teacher Neelima (Nusrat Bharucha) and Montu falls head over heels in love with her. After a few conversations Neelima becomes friends with him and they start hanging out. And all keeps on going well until a new PT Teacher Singh Sir (Zeeshan Ayub) joins the school.
Montu is asked to assist him and Neelima starts being friendly with him which irks Montu. He then picks up a fight with Singh sir and challenges him for a competition, where his team is pitted against the one trained by Singh.
The movie which starts as a Rom Com shifts towards the sports drama and the proceedings turn towards the preparation of the sports event and then the event itself. How the teams come together, how they compete and who wins, is what the film focuses in the second half.
This is the first time Rao-Mehta duo have collaborated for a light subject, and though being fully predictable and done to death, Chhalaang still keeps you smiling throughout.
The backdrop setup of Haryana village is authentic and so are the dialects.
Also the casting of a few characters is very good. The scenes of Rao and best friend Shuklaji (who once was his teacher and double his age) are very well conceived and performed.
Even the scenes between Rao and his father (Satish Kaushik) are very good and relatable. Hansal Mehta has proved his direction skills have mettle, he has handled this done to death concept ably and made a watchable movie out of it
As mentioned, Chhalaang is based on a very thin plotline and a very routine plot. There is no novelty in the plot and lack of any uniqueness is the biggest drawback.
Also, there is no depth in the scenes, be it the ones during the sports, which could have been better or the love story of the lead pair which lacks conviction and intensity. This could have been detailed and done in a much better way.
Rajkummar Rao as Montu is spot on as a careless, slacker PT Teacher or being the bully to couples. He has got the dialect right and the feel of the film right.
Zeeshan Ayub is good as Singh Sir and so is Nusrat Bharucha as Neelima and Ila Arun as Principal.
Other supporting actors deserve special mention specially Satish Kaushik and Sourabh Shukla. Both of them, given the seasoned artists they are, are truly phenomenal and endearing.
Balvinder Kaur as Montu’s mother and Naman Jain as his brother are equally authentic and entertaining. Rest of the cast is decent
Chhalaang as we have already said, if considered standalone, is a good one time watch movie.
Given the number of movies that have already been made based on almost the same subject, this one just manages to stay there just because of some very good performances and direction.
Given the disappointment of other Diwali releases this one is certainly a better option to watch, as long as you don’t watch it with much expectations