Cast: Victor Banerjee,Rupa Ganguly,Kiera Chaplin,Ankur Tewari,Soha Ali Khan,Nedumudi Venu,Arundhati Nag,Karthik Kumar,Shayan Munshi,Zeenat Aman
Director: Rajshree Ojha
Indian Express Ratings:**½
Three strands,three cities. Rajshree Ojha borrows from Nirmal Vermas short stories to come up with her characters and their stories,cross-cutting between them to see where they are in their journeys. Finally,Chaurahen,is about loving and losing,and lifes little truths,and it manages to hit the mark on and off.
A getting-on-in-years Dr Bose (Bannerjee) looks for solace in the arms of a much younger Laia (Chaplin),while his wife (Ganguly) stares silently into space. This trio is in Kolkata. Over in Mumbai,Farooq (Tewari) cant seem to get over the loss of a parent,even as his bright-eyed girlfriend Ira (Khan) tries to get him out of it. Kochi is where Naveen (Kumar) is back,on a brief visit,watching over his parents (Venu and Nag) as they struggle to cope with the loss of an older son (Munshi).
The older man and younger woman trope falls into some slush : Bannerjee has done this before,and Chaplin ( yes,THE Charlies grand-daughter) is flitty,flirty but not to much purpose. Rupas sad wife is more successful : she lets her eyes do the talking. And the trouble with Tewari and Khan is that they are made to talk too much. In a talky film (most of it in English,laced with bits of Hindi,Bangla and Malayalam),with not enough silences,their chatter becomes inane after a while.
The third story has the most depth. The excellent Nedumudi Venu and Arundhati Nag make their couple believable,even though Nag sometimes overdoes the ‘simple middle-classness of her housewife-mother. But theres no denying the pain they transmit while trying to come to grips with their younger sons insistence to get back to his life in Vienna. Kumar,as the conflicted yet loving Naveen,gets the best mileage out of this segment. Oh,and Zeenat Aman shows up in a cameo,which doesnt signpost her presence as much as tell us that shes still around.
Ojha,whose previous credits include the dreadful Aishaa,seems to have found her voice with this one. There is some obviousness. But there are also enough nice moments in Chaurahen to make you hopeful for her next venture.