Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore is innocent. It directly delivers a very relevant message, and yet escapes the shadows of explaining everything, by providing its universe with depth much more than what catches the eye. Chronologically, the movie stations itself as a very convincing and warm father-son relationship between Aniruddh (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Raghav (Mohammad Samad).
Soon, it becomes a story about a group of friends reminiscing their college (more specifically, hostel) days. The former whispers tragedy, the latter conveys silent nostalgia. The shift in tone seems immature, for you are bound to believe that the former timeline was used just as a build-up to this Kuch Kuch Hota Hai/ 3 Idiots flashback of youth and carelessness. But this initial assumption is a farce, the cause is good writing, the consequence is Chhichhore.
Rather than dismissing the former timeline for the latter, it builds both off each other: something which comes off beautifully in the end. It never gets predictable, despite using cliches to its strength. One of the key subtexts to this executing in the larger-than-life way it did, was thanks to some clever casting. Sushant Singh Rajput’s portrayal of a ‘dad’ trying to make his kid more comfortable is very effective, and despite setting the tone for the entire movie, will still be underrated.
Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin) who has come a long way since his early news channel days, Sexa (Varun Sharma ) very slowly escaping his fukrey-Delhi-boy stereotype, Acid (Naveen Polishetty), Mummy (Tushar Pandey), and Bevda (Saharsh Kumar Shukla) were excellent in essence and in art. They, sometimes individually, but majorly collectively held the film together — no mean feat in a movie which was designed for them to extrapolate their mainstream yet effective characters.
Despite a satisfying end product, and a more than enjoyable second act (sometimes a laugh riot, really) – Chhichhore is anything but flawless. For starters, the name itself. Any title could mean a lot of different things — ranging from a one-time-reference in the movie to simply as obvious as a character name. What is vital is to convey the vibe correctly. Chhichhore feels irresponsible, something the movie isn’t. There seems to be a translatory gap between the name and everything the movie stood for.
The movie is also a victim of making this Bollywood movie more Bollywood at times — incredibly perulie background sounds to jokes, repeated efforts to make sure that we realise the gang misses their college days once every ten minutes, receded hairline for every grown male, slowest of climax to subplots, the basics. For these reasons and other cinematic among them, the movie is bound to remind you of some you have seen in the past decade.
These aren’t memories of a much-forgotten past, or simply similarities, they are a part of the experience. The smiles when you think of the Model-Rajput battle from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander as Hostel H4 goes through their basketball, athletics, and chess finals on the same day — are necessary. Nostalgia isn’t just the theme of the characters. The characters aren’t just in the movie. The movie isn’t completely fictional. Its realism lies in its exaggerations.
Much like the characters in the movie, Chhichhore doesn’t have a winning formula. It presents simple questions, and answers them with ease. To quote from Kung Fu Panda, “There is no secret ingredient”, and that is precisely why it works. From believing in itself — to relishing the journey, it does everything it teaches. Unlike an Imtiaz Ali or a Rajkumar Hirani, this isn’t a journey. It is a moment, a pause. An iteration, a repetition of the fact that we can’t move ahead without looking back. And in saying so, it does both.