Chaman Bahaar movie review: simple sweet & ‘paan’tastic

Chaman Bahaar movie review is here. Starring Jitendra Kumar along with Ritika Badiani, the movie is directed by Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann. Produced by Yoodle Films, Chaman Bahar will stream on Netflix from June 19, 2020.

Immediate reactions when the end credits roll
Chaman Bahaar – this ilu ilu (read love story) of Raipur based Billu is sweet & intriguingly quirkily amalgamation of infatuation, romance, lust, machismo, power, innocence and more.

The Story of Chaman Bahaar
Billu (Jitendra Kumar) a son of a government employee in Raipur in his ambition to have his own pehachan (identity) sets up a paan (beetle leaf) shop at a busy highway route. Unfortunately, as soon as he sets up his shop, the erstwhile busy route gets deserted due to a decision by the civil administration that results in changes in the district border limits. This leads to shifting of the local transport route. Other shops/hawkers disappear but Billu who has just started is clueless on what to do.

Chaman Bahar Movie Poster
Chaman Bahar Movie Poster
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One day as a knight in the shining armour arrives – the lovely teenager Rinku (Ritika Badiani) comes to stay with her family in a house bang opposite Billu’s paan shop. Rinku’s father is a senior government official. The arrival of Rinku open gates to a gathering of boys from the town hanging at the paan shop who relish their fix of tobacco and their infatuation, lust, etc. towards the new beauty in town. Right from the good for nothing boys to the rich casanova type businessman Ashu Bhaiya (Ashwani Kumar) to the local youth leader Shiladitya Tiwari (Alam Khan) everybody gets in the race for Rinku. Amidst all these two cunning foxes Somu (Bhuvan Arora) and Chhotu (Dherendra Kumar Tiwari) make hay with the rich – Ashu Bhaiya and powerful – Shiladitya Tiwari.

Chaman Bahaar movie review

Starring Jitendra Kumar Chaman Bahaar seems to be an old school love story at first glance but as it progresses, it turns into a quirky desi exploration of how an arrival of a pretty beautiful girl/women/ to a small town makes the young males busy. The debut of writer director Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann aims at covering a wider emotional range in Chaman Bahar and succeeds to a lot of extent.

Certainly not at all a run of the mill stuff, Chaman Bahaar gives a long long-distance flying kiss to Giuseppe Tornatore’s lovely Malena (2000) starring the stunning Monica Bellucci. It takes just a leaf (a beauty becoming the talk of the town, an obsession) to tell it’s romantic coming of age saga of a paan wala that pans through various human emotions eluding a level of sentimentality with a romantic vision.

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After the initial reels, the real action begins when Rinku (Ritika Badiani) makes an entry. Like a piece of jaggery inviting all the flies in the world. It smartly conveys the message of how the world objectifies women and the difference between infatuation, lust and love. Dreams and reality. We all live in our world of illusion and when it breaks how much are we prepared to take.

While Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann is bang on in his creation of characters rooted in the desi hinterland milieu – almost all the male characters including the lead Billu. Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann’s projection of Rinku (Ritika Badiani) is dreamlike, not superficial but super pious involving minimum dialogue from her end. Rinku might be a meta but it does not get established fully. Jitendra Kumar is commendable as Billu. Ritika Badiani is completely effective.

The world created by Bhuvan Arora as Somu and Dherendra Kumar Tiwari as Chhotu provides the edge. Their vocabulary and sly humour help in adding different colours to this love saga. Other solid support comes from Alam Khan as Shiladitya Tiwari and Ashwani Kumar as Ashu Bhaiya.

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Music by Mangesh Dhakde and Anshuman Mukherjee especially those moments with violin sets the mood. Cinematography by Arkodeb Mukherjee is pleasant. Editing by Ujjwal Chandra is fine.

Flaws
At times it seems that Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann in Chaman Bahaar has used the character of Rinku and her beauty as a canvas onto which the audience projects its own emotions. There is no contrast in the characterisation of Rinku.

Final words
Chaman Bahaar has its heart in the right place, not a routine rom com, Chaman Bahaar is an affecting coming-of-age story, it’s funny, romantic, sobering and pleasingly sweet. Try this paan from the Dilwala Billu.

poster/image courtesy : Netflix/Yoodle Films

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Critic Rating

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