Written by Manisha Lakhe
Title Chhodo, Film Bahut Acchi Hai!
Five friends who play football on the beach every Sunday get into trouble when their ball hits a petty politician. Each friend has a unique reason to escape his home. And even though they seem stereotypes – a Muslim, a gentle Parsee, a henpecked Gujju, a Catholic lad and the Hindu hero – the dialogue, the acting of the supporting cast, the lovely music, the situations that the characters are pushed in are simply wonderful. You begin to care for the characters and enjoy the film.
In the hustle and bustle of the metropolis of Bombay, there is no place to play. And if there is, most places are taken by Cricket, that seems to be a national pastime. So when you watch Arjun, Rashid, Domi, Jayesh, and Mehernosh play seek a place for their game of football, you know that the movie must be more to the movie than just an open place for their game of choice.
And how this film surprises you!
The language is Hinglish – a smattering of English thrown in rather naturally. And you like that. Because that’s how Urban India speaks. Each character, speaks in his own unique voice and you don’t hate any character, not one. That’s a miracle, especially because there have been really terrible movies this year.
So Dominic or Domi (played by Vishal Malhotra) is a typical Catholic lad who lives with his mother (She’s so good, you want to step into her home and hug her!). The mother, played brilliantly by Rama Joshi speaks Konkani and English and Hindi to manipulate her sons, sometimes with tears, sometimes by scolding them and even resorting to emotional blackmail at other times. She serves food as she cajoles her son into coming to church, get married, yells at him for staying out late and then showers her love on him. Who will not love her?
Rashid played by Avinash Tiwary is the motorbike lad, who gets all the girls and seems to be doing a-okay until you see his home. It’s cluttered with his past and a four legged pest… You may not be the Rashid in your set of friends, but you know someone like him.
Jayesh escapes with football because his household is so noisy, he cannot think. You want to invite him over to the quiet of your own home for a cuppa because you will be aghast when you hear the decibel levels of his life. Jay Upadhyay does a fine job.
Mehernosh is a quiet Bawa – a Parsee who lives among neighbors who are fighting each other all the time. He’s an accountant in a firm where the boss is a nasty man, picking on a girl Mehernosh likes but is unable to say anything. Played by Nakul Bhalla you begin feeling pity for the harried man, but you smile when you know how wicked he can be…
Last but not the least, there’s Arjun, who has a fancy degree and used to have a job, but has given up everything to stay with his sister and runs a small consultancy firm but mostly likes to do nothing. Played by Barun Sobti (known for his roles in TV soap) you are almost jealous of his ability to play by his own rules. But is he perfect?
Shahana Goswami is a marketing professional who meets Arjun because her dad literally bumps into the football five. She’s so comfortable in her skin, you like her instantly. Then there’s Rasika Dugal who lights up the screen, and maanvi Gagroo…
This group discovers so much about their lives and you sit popcorn in hand, laughing at the on screen jokes, nod your head at situations that run a parallel to your own life, and know that you will call your friends once the film is over. The film sags a tad in the middle, but then the rest of the film makes it up. The laughs, the meltdowns, the fights, they are all worth. And you know, that the Director Milind Dhaimade has struck gold because in scenes where the football playing cop needs to report for duty and then in doing that duty, reverses the jeep and asks for the football as ‘evidence’
The film has been through the festival circuit and yet, it does not feel aged. There are some glitches, but you forgive them simply because you want this life with friends. All in all, this movie is a delightful watch.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)