In the last 5 years I have increasingly been disliking Hindi movies for two reasons : artificial westernization and lack of any human sensitivity or realism. Cheeni Kum totally broke this dislike streak I am on.
It is one of the most interesting, promising,touching and hilarious movies I’ve seen a long time! This movie is as natural and realistic as it can get. It captures human sensitivity and emotions very beautifully and realistically. Being a Hindi movie, it does have a touch of melodrama at times but all that is overshadowed by the well written script that is well executed with expertly etched characters and cast perfectly and played just right by Amitabh Bachan,Tabu and Paresh Rawal. The movie has been so well thought out to the finest details that even the smaller roles played by unknown actors play an important part in adding flavor to the movie.
Cheeni Kum is a witty, sarcastic and humorous love story between an older man and a young woman. The concept of an older man – young woman although no longer a novel concept in bollywood, is tackled with great class by the writer and director Balakrishnan. It makes this topic, which is still taboo in India, very well presented, logical and accesable to the masses.
Buddhadev (Amitabh) is a 64 yr old bachelor who is sarcastic, quick tempered, impatient, brash, egoistic, self obsessed, overly proud and overtly arrogant at the same time a passionate, emotional witty and sensitive chef/owner of one of the finest Indian restaurant in London. Nina (Tabu) is a 34 year old realist from Delhi who is equally strong-headed, proud and dynamic. Against all odds and despite being polar opposite personalities they fall in love. Apart from the older man – younger woman taboo whats wrong is Nina’s father(played by Paresh Rawal) is only 58. Of-course that becomes a huge problem with the father and the Indian ‘society’. The rest of the story is how they sort things out, how all the characters cope with their lives and how it all shapes up.
The screenplay has very uniquely witty dialogues and various unusual relationships which is a very rare find in hindi movies these days. The first half of the movie is all plain amusement, comedy and romance and the second half is a bit more serious with a hint of melodrama. There are moments in the second half where you can almost see a ‘typical Hindi cinema’ moment with logic-less sentiment but it quickly moves back into the pleasant comedic story telling making you forget that brief melodramatic moment.
In Indian movies romance is hardly funny. It is always corny, overly dramatic and extremely cliched. In this one, witty repartees fly around , all conversations drip with sarcasm and wry humor, thanks again to the well written script.
One of THE most important and pivotal role in the movie is played by the music and background score. It is brilliantly done by the Maestro, the epitome of pure musical genius: Illaiyaraja. He proves yet again that there is no one to beat him when it comes to background scores and precisely capturing the mood of the movie. His music steals every scene in the movie and gives life to the movie.
The only negative things I have to say about the movie:
I couldn’t keep my eyes off Bachchan’s pigtail ( not in a good way!) It was the ugliest and most distracting pigtail I have ever seen. Why did they have to give him a puny pigtail?
Into half the movie, for a brief while when their “relationship blossoms” and goes to the next level, I was very worried that they were going to make this a sex comedy, instead of the mature classy comedy it was until that point but it stopped with a brief scene of Amitabh going to pharmacy to buy a condom! Thank god for that!
I rate this movie 8 out of 10.
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