Producer-Director: Manish Tiwari
Cast: Ritwik Sahore, Prashant Narayanan, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Govind Namdeo and Aanjjan Srivastav
Platform of Release: Theatres
By Jyothi Venkatesh
The story of the film made for Children’s Film Society, follows Sooraj (Ritvik Sahore), a Bihari boy who addresses the camera directly initially and shares his life adventures. Sooraj’s migration to Mumbai with his mother, Bibha (Rajeshwari Sachdev), exposes him to school gangs that restrict him from pursuing his passion, football.
Almost a decade after Dil Dosti Etc (2007) and Issaq (2013), director Manish Tiwary’s latest offering Chidiakhana is a coming-of-age story of an underdog who makes a mark by following his passion and tenacity for football. The tone of this 114-minute film is lighthearted, and the dialogues are pedestrian but funny in parts.
If you wonder what on earth prompted the writer- director to title his film as Chidiakhana, here’s the answer. He sets out to present a very simple tale with a twisted angle of protagonists perceiving animals in humans, possibly to justify the film’s title, Chidiakhana. Sooraj’s world turns topsy-turvy when he discovers he cannot play football since the ground lease has expired and the government has given it to a greedy builder (Govind Namdeo). Predictably, he snatches a win by taking up a challenge to save the ground for children.
The segment of the story about getting sports intermingled with other subplots concerning Bibha’s past, Sooraj’s competition in the gang, especially Babu (Jayesh Kardak), a football player-turned-local goon, Pratap (Prashant Narayanan), who assists and even trains Sooraj etc do very little to elevate the plot to greater heights and only serves to making the story very repetitive.
As far as the performances of the cast is concerned, all that I can say is that Prashant Narayanan’s positive role as Pratap Bhai is indeed surprising and a welcome change from the kind of usual run of the mill roles. Avneet Kaur brings a breath of fresh air to the film as Sooraj’s crush, Mili. Rajeshwari Sachdev delivers a decent performance as Sooraj’s mother, although I feel that the director could have set out to explore and dwell more effectively at length on her character’s past.
Aanjjan Srivastav is as usual good and lends dignity to his performance as the principal of the school. Govind Namdeo is effective as the villain whereas Ravi Kishen has hardly any role to mention and plays just a special appearance. To sum up, the film Chidiakhana is just about engaging in parts.