It begins with a dunk fight at the hostel, started by Sexa (Varun Sharma) and Anni (Sushant Singh Rajput). All the boys of the hostel in their undies are throwing water over each other. Cut to years later when Anni is a mid-forty mature, grim father of a son. I wondered whether it is a version of Nitesh Tiwari (film’s writer-director) himself? It is known that this film is a semi-memoir of Tiwari’s college life. The film is being narrated to the audience as well as to Anni’s son by Anni and his college friends Sexa, Derek (Tahir Raj Bhasin), Acid (Naveen Polishetty), Mummy (Tushar Pandey), and Maya (Shraddha Kapoor).
The film finely shifts between 90s and present day, often between similar situations and dialogues in both times. Too much, too literal? Not at all. From Mansoor Khan’s Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar to the fantasy-world Student of The Year, Bollywood has produced many films like this. But Chhichhore is unique for its masterful storytelling. I can’t recollect a Bollywood movie managing to pull off A-grade dialogues describing ‘dirty’ things, putting across the point without being on-the-face, and not getting sloppy even for one scene.
Chhichhore is all in its writing (Nitesh Tiwari, Nikhil Mehrotra, and Piyush Gupta). And all the actors do a splendid job performing the written material. You can easily relate with the film/characters. Because whether or not you have gone to college, an Engineering one for that matter, you must have grown up with people like these. Film’s comparison to Rajkumar Hirani’s hugely popular 3 Idiots is inevitable. But Chhichhore surpasses it. While 3 Idiots was about teaching the education system a lesson and following your dreams, Chhichhore shows that there’s much more to college than just records and marks and achievements – sans the massy dramatisation.
Watch the Chhichhore trailer here:
Anybody who has watched the climax of Dangal, knows how well Nitesh Tiwari can show sports sequences. The climax of Chhichhore does not disappoint either. Bollywood filmmakers often exaggerate in order to make a point. But Tiwari and his co-writers and editor keep things natural, subtle and easy going. The ‘losers’ as the friends have been called in the hostel, haven’t achieved anything great in their lives. But that’s how real life is.
Probably that’s what the makers have aimed to show here. They succeed in keeping it close-knit around the college that happens outside the classrooms. Strangers meeting, giving each other tough time, later becoming friends for life. If you think of it, that’s what matters eventually.
Notable mentions in terms of acting performances: Varun Sharma as Sexa delivers a delightful performance. He delivers the film’s best punchlines. Sushant Singh Rajput as Anni, is earnest. His portrayal of the middle-aged version of his character is more convincing than the younger one. Shraddha Kapoor, Tahir Raj Bhasin, and Naveen Polishetty do a fine job too.
Hindi films are not known for being study material for use of colour, sound, editing and background score in the cinephiles’ world. But Chhichhore can become one of the firsts. Director Nitesh Tiwari has beautifully created the world of 90s. Everything flows naturally and smoothly. There’s less gyaan; more fun and emotion. It is hilariously profound. I’m not a big sucker for nostalgia but this film makes you want to reflect on the college life. This masterpiece by Nitesh Tiwari left me overwhelmed.