Through Chhichhore, director Nitesh Tiwari deftly teleports the audience between the college life in the 90s, and the lives now. The writers have done an impeccable job at expressing why winners are not just those who win but also who do not give up. It will remind you of the iconic dialogue of Shah Rukh Khan: Har Ke Jeetne Wale Ko Baazigar kehte hai.
The story begins as an attempt by Annirudh (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Maya (Shradha Kapoor) to save their son Raghav who attempts suicide by succumbing to the pressure of not clearing his engineering entrance exam.
As he battles for his life in hospital, feeling dismayed at disappointing his successful engineer parents, his father attempts to encourage him through an unusual reunion with his hostel friends. The well-crafted screenplay coupled with the directorial finesse of Nitesh offers a sojourn to the audience to experience the hostel life filled with love, heart-breaks, epithets, accolades, adventures, and misadventures before drifting back to the tensed scenes at the hospital.
It takes us through the alleys of an engineering college and hostel where Anni (hypocorism for Annirudh) meets his love interest, Maya. The script is ripe with petrichor of nostalgia from college life.
For those who spent the 90s in college will take a drive through their memory lanes remembering gulping down the Zing Thing, Goldspot. The makers have worked on such details to make the flashbacks believable.
However, it’s the platoon of myriad characters which leave an indelible mark in the minds of the audience. Every character has ample screen-time to develop and contribute to the film.
Shraddha Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput’s chemistry is refreshing and keeps the 90s romance unadulterated. Sushant delivers another brilliant performance. He swifts through the shades of his character effortlessly, without being repetitive, uncomfortable, or plastic. Shraddha deserves applause for making Maya natural, honest and simple for the viewers. Shraddha sets a new benchmark for herself in this film. Chucha is back and how. Chhichhore also marks the return of Varun Sharma as the current bankable-guy for making the audience laugh. After a series of film that replicated his comic style and led us to believe he would soon be typecast, his character ‘Sexa’ steals hearts. He is a treat for the viewers. Prateik Babbar as Raggie makes a comfortable return to the screen and his efforts definitely pay off. Tahir Raj Bhasin as Derek will surely leave an impact on the audience’s mind. He has essayed aggressive and emotional scenes with equal eloquence. Naveen Polishetty as Acid is entertaining and probably leaves us remembering a classmate who was just like him. Tushar Pandey as Mummy adds innocence to his character. Saharsh Shukla as Bevda is a sweet addition to the mix.
Undoubtedly, the director has handled the subject with dignity by not opting for a caricature-ish narration, making both the story and the screenplay as real heroes of Chhichhore.
Of course, the story arc is not entirely unpredictable but manages to save itself from falling into the pits of clichés. It’s encouraging to see when producer Sajid Nadiadwala invests in a script that relies more on the strength of storytelling rather than the high-octane action sequences. The comedy scenes in the film make the audience draw parallels with movies from similar genre. However, they are placed appropriately and sometimes become the medium for underlining messages.
The best part about Chhichhore is that it’s entertaining, pleasant, and emotional without attempting to preach what it cannot teach.
It reminds us that we have been creating a generation that is promised rewards for success but never taught how to handle a loss. It teaches us that often, success doesn’t teach you much; it’s the failure that nurtures to become a bouquet of accumulated experiences.