Heist films are in vogue, everywhere. In Bollywood it usually involves plenty of characters, most of them comic running helter-skelter trying their best to lay their hands on that elusive booty and run off. Chaalis Chauraasi in a way falls in this genre but the script and execution makes it different from the rest of heist potboilers. Although the script has glitches, the direction could have saved the day. Sadly, that happens only to an extent. Result – Chaalis Chauraasi comes across as a one-time watch timepass fare. It could have reached the league of Sankat City but alas!
The story of the movie: 4 cops – Sir (Naseeruddin Shah), Pinto (Kay Kay Menon), Shakti (Ravi Kishan) and Bobby (Atul Kulkarni) have finished their duty hours. But they are still at work – they are on a way to pull off a heist that would change their fortunes. Although their plan seemed foolproof, they get into deep trouble as they have to encounter a police officer (Rajesh Sharma) clueless of their plans, and a dreaded gangster (Zakir Hussain) on the run.
Chaalis Chauraasi is unique in the sense that the lead character’s former entry happens almost after 20 minutes, when they are already introduced to the viewers! This is the juncture when you realize that jo dikhta hai, waisa nahi hai! And that’s when the film gets on track as the initial 20 minutes was average. Moreover, the entry sequences of all 4 characters was one of the best moments in the film as that’s where the lead actors give their best!
The first half is majorly devoted to the planning of the heist. The film does drag a bit at this point. Also, the 3 item songs in the first half acts as an obstacle (although 2 of them Setting Zhala and Hawa Hawa were quite energetic, when seen individually). But it’s the second half where the film gives you your money’s worth. The sudden appearance of the cop (Rajesh Sharma) was funny and the entire sequence in the Dwaraka Lodge, though stretched, was a treat to witness. The climax, too, drags a bit (esp the fight scenes) but nevertheless was entertaining enough!
The lead actors are undoubtedly extremely talented but sadly they give their good shot, but surely not the best. But they don’t disappoint either. Naseeruddin Shah was in his element and watch out for him towards the climax, especially when he’s fighting the giant-sized goons! Kay Kay Menon was consistent. Atul Kulkarni was hilarious in the back story but didn’t show that spark in the later scenes. Ravi Kishan was quite good but expected him to do more in the final moments. Zakir Hussain was as usual rocking while Rajesh Sharma (the producer in The Dirty Picture) too does a fabulous job. The item girls (including Shweta Bhardwaj) add to the glamour and sizzling quotient. Manoj Pahwa (Naseer’s boss), Nilima Uttarwar (Pahwa’s wife), D Santosh (Chandu), Vinay Apte (garage owner) and the Haryanvi goons – Yuri Suri, Pradeep Kabra, Megh Pant and Arbaaz Ali Khan – were quite okay.
There was no scope for music in the film and besides the item song, there’s a title track which was mediocre. But Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background was effective. Najeeb Khan’s cinematography and Bunty Nagi’s editing was alright. Production Values weren’t rich enough but in a way helps the film get a realistic feel.
Yash-Vinay came up with a very interesting story and screenplay could have been better. Still, direction should have corrected the wrongs but sadly, Hriday Shetty’s direction succeeds only partially. The first half takes a turn as the film suddenly goes on a flashback mode. Although the scenes commence well, too much time is used to show the planning scenes. Also, the title of the film – Chaalis Chauraasi – doesn’t hold ground as for most part of the film, the police van (with the number MH-02-CA-4084) is missing from the film! Moreover, no effort is made to enlighten the viewers as to how the 4 characters know each other. However, it’s the second half and makes the film worth watching thanks to the unpredictability. The director surely has the spark to come up with films like Sankat City and Emotional Atyachar (terrific films in this genre) and hopefully Shetty will succeed fully in his next endaevour!
Some of the best scenes:
1. The entry shots/back story of the lead characters
2. The cops get van and weapons for the heist
3. The intermission point
4. The cops are stopped by a senior cop
5. The hotel sequence
6. The climax
On the whole, Chaalis Chauraasi is a nice one-time watch entertainer. It has its share of flaws but thankfully, the wonderful second half saves the day! Performances are nothing extraordinary but are good enough to entertain and amuse the audience. At the box office, the high cost and the mixed response might prevent the film from becoming a commercial success at the box office, sadly.
My rating-*** out of 5!