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 Chupke Se
Director :
Music :
Lyrics :
Starring :
 Shona Urvashi
 Vishal Bharadwaj
 Gulzar, Abbass Tyrewala
 Masumi, Zulfikar Syed, Rati Agnihotri

By Kshama Rao


Debutante director Shona Urvashi's Chupke Se does give you a reason to smile as the promo line on the film posters promise you, albeit at irregular intervals. Fortunately, it does hold up to the family name of PLA productions, which have earlier given us at least two light-hearted, frothy films - Chashme Baddoor and Khatta Meetha.

Megha Timgire (newcomer Masumi Makhija) is the daughter of an income tax officer, Babanrao Timgire (Dilip Prabhavalkar). She dreams to become a beauty queen and enjoy her share of fame, name and adulation. The mundane existence of living in a modest flat while her father mouths 'accounts' formulae to her three-year-old (?) brother is just not her scene. Varun Arya (Zulfikar Syed) is touted as the country's youngest crorepati. We are told he spent his growing up years behind a computer and a mouse a la Bill Gates. He is now looking for a 'simple' girl with a simple existence. Needless to say, after a strange misunderstanding; he mistakes her for Sarika Mehra, a girl his father (Jayant Kripalani) has chosen to meet him. Varun and Megha meet in a discotheque. Almira Kochhar (Rati Agnihotri) is a socialite-cum-beauty-pageant-organiser who apparently can change fortunes of any girl. One snap of her fingers and any plain Jane could be the next supermodel! Needless to say again, Almira's discerning eyes choose the smiling Megha. However, it's only a bet Almira has maraoed with her boyfriend Rizwan (Raman Lamba) that she can make anybody a 'beauty queen'. Megha, who now assumes the name of Sarika is thrilled and starts going through the rigours of a beauty contest. Meanwhile, Varun is smitten by her, and Megha too loves him. While the Timgires are oblivious to the whole issue, Varun's father is only happy for his son who's at last found some life. The other sub-plot of the film: Almira is a tax defaulter and Mr Timgire is on her case. Worse, he's not even the bribe-taking type. So to take him off her back, Almira's husband Tiny Kochhar (Tinnu Anand) has hired the services of one Qasim Khan Qayamat (Om Puri), an underworld don whose only grouse is no one knows him and his only passion 'to spout Galib-inspired shayaris'. So there begins the roller coaster ride of Megha living her dream as Sarika, Varun singing songs with her completely unaware that she is not Sarika (by the way he detests liars). Almira proving a point to Riz and caught in Mr Timgire's tax ka chakkar, Mr Timgire hell bent on bringing Almira to book and finally Qayamat too wanting his 15 minutes of fame!

The film scores in various departments - from story and screenplay (Shona Urvashi and Abbas Tyrewala) to the very simple dialogues and performances that range from strictly average (Syed) to fairly good (Masumi, Rati and Tinnu Anand) to simply great (Om Puri and Dilip Prabhavalkar). While Syed is at least easy on the eye, Masumi is very ordinary and certainly not a face, which could launch a thousand products as Almira puts it. Besides, she could just try and avoid grinning too much.
Where the film fails is in the music (Vishal Bharadwaj) except for one song, the dil vil number. Also, if you don't really think about why Megha decides to tell her parents and Varun about the whole thing in the last two reels and the preaching of a girl with 'middle-class' values (why have Hindi films of late been after the 'middle class'?) on a beauty pageant stage, you will enjoy this movie. Not to forget the youngest crorepati falling for a Mulund ki mulgi, a bit implausible but what do they say about taking our Hindi films with a pinch of salt.

All said and done, Chupke Se is quite an entertainer but again one wonders if it was not for Om Puri and Dilip Prabhavalkar would Shona Urvashi's labour of love still be able to bring a smile on our face?


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