A Genuine Tale Of Hope Despite Extremely Naïve Worldview
What Is the Film About?
Chintu is all set to become a 6-year-old boy. His parents want to celebrate a birthday and make it a memorable one. They missed celebrating it the previous year. This year they want to do it at any cost. Theirs is an Indian family struck in Iraq during the fall of Saddam Hussein’s reign. And it is these moments they get to remember for a long time.
What happens when army personnel gets in their home? Did the family manage to celebrate the birthday of Chintu is the overall premise of the movie.
How Is Vinay Pathak’s Performance?
Vinay Pathak is excellent in an author-backed role after a long time. The typical innocence that is associated with his personality, and his act, is brought to great use in the movie. He has done similar parts in the past. It is why the way he pulls it off doesn’t come as a surprise at all.
The confrontation between Vinay Pathak and the US Army guys towards the end is an excellent example of the talent of the actor. There is zero over action to milk the drama, and yet the impact of a big dramatic moment leading to tears is felt.
Direction by Devanshu Kumar and Satyanshu Singh?
Devanshu Kumar and Satyanshu Singh write and direct the movie. The story of the film is simple and straightforward, without any major twists. It is about the birthday celebration of a boy at a particular time and period.
Movies with plots like that of Chintu Ka Birthday require high calibre work in other departments, the screenplay, performances and writing. It is here that Chintu Ka Birthday shines.
What helps the narrative a big deal is the casting. The presence of Vinay Pathak in the central part is a deal-breaker. He pulls off nothing lines with his sincere and innocent act. The fact that the story also rests on such a point, (celebration of birthday) only compounds the impact. The mind doesn’t mind the shortcoming on offer. In this case, the naivety adds to the story as an integral part.
The entire movie happens within a house and among a limited set of characters. And yet we manage to care about the different people and connect with their problems. When a guy ransacks the place the family stays, we feel bad for them. It shows that there is emotional engagement with the narrative, and that is the ultimate victory of the directors.
The screenplay makes one interested in the proceedings. The short length helps as there is not much dragging involved. We have very few filler scenes. Even the few are there to help increase the emotional response, which is alright.
The start seems very ordinary, though. It is only after the US Army guys enter the house that the narrative gets intriguing. The proceedings are filled with small twists one after the other. It helps in avoiding the boredom.
There is an additional inter-family dynamic working as well like the husband-wife, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, sister and brother. They make the proceedings compact within the limited space.
The climax and portions before it are a fine example of a properly built narrative. They help to give a satisfied and justified feeling at the end of the whole journey.
Overall, Chintu Ka Birthday is a highly naïve yet compelling viewing. The performances and the writing make it worthwhile one time watch.
As the entire narrative takes place within a single location involving a family, there are very few characters. The actors essaying those parts are well cast. If one remembers the grandmother or the kid or the elder sister, it is primarily because they are so apt for those roles. They have small but significant moments in the story which they nail. It further seals the deal. Bisha Chaturvedi, Vedant Chibber as Chintu, belong to this category.
Tilotama Shome and Seema Pahwa are superb in their parts. They bring out the usual mother-in-law and daughter-in-law dynamic to fore in a different setting, and background. Similarly, Reginald L Barnes and Nathan Scholz do their bits, neatly, even though highly cliché.
Music and Other Departments?
The background score by Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor is okay. It goes with the flow. Nothing stands out, in particular, but at the same time, there is nothing to complain. The cinematography by Siddharth Diwan is decent. The editing Charu Shree Roy is adequate, keeping the narrative clean and simple.
Final Half An Hour
The Slow Pace At Times
Few Initial Moments
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Chintu Ka Birthday Review by Siddartha Toleti