CHHATRIWALI is a decent entertainer

CHHATRIWALI is the story of a condom quality tester in a conservative town. Sanya Dhingra (Rakul Preet Singh) resides in Karnal with her mother (Dolly Ahluwalia) and younger sister Jaya (Kajol Chugh). She takes chemistry tuitions, while looking out for a job. Ratan Lamba (Satish Kaushik) is also from the same town and he owns Cando Condoms. He’s in urgent need of a condom quality tester. But he’s not able to find one, due to which his business is suffering. He comes across Sanya and is impressed by her knowledge of chemicals. He offers her the job. At first, Sanya is enraged. But with no other option, she takes up the job with the condition that no one should know that she works at Cando. Ratan agrees. This is also the time when Sanya bumps into Rishi Kalra (Sumeet Vyas), who runs a shop for devotional items, and both fall in love. Sanya hides the fact that she works at the condom plant from her mother and from Ratan. She lies that she works in an umbrella company. She even tells the same lie to Rishi’s family, consisting of her strict and conservative brother Rajan Kalra (Rajesh Tailang) and his wife Nisha (Prachee Shah Paandya). Both get married and now Sanya has to ensure that her in-laws don’t find out what she does for a living. At the same time, she begins to see her job in a new light when she realizes how the condom is actually a life-saver and not something to be embarrassed about.
Sanchit Gupta and Priyadarshee Srivastava’s story is a bit similar to JANHIT MEIN JAARI [2022]. But in the second half, it’s quite different from the Nushrratt Bharuccha-starrer and blends entertainment and social message organically. Sanchit Gupta and Priyadarshee Srivastava’s screenplay is breezy. The film is peppered with some entertaining and touching moments and keeps the viewers engaged. Sanchit Gupta and Priyadarshee Srivastava’s dialogues are witty and sharp.
Tejas Prabha Vijay Deoskar’s direction is simple and effective. In just 116 minutes, he packs in a lot and doesn’t let the film drag or slow down anywhere. His biggest achievement is that he packs a punch in the second half. Thanks to his execution, viewers get invested in the storyline and would root for Sanya though she lies to her family and in-laws about her work. The track of Nisha is novel and helps in putting the message across in a far impactful manner. The manner in which Rajan quickly completes explaining the sex education chapter to students is very realistic.
On the flipside, the first half gives a déjà vu of JANHIT MEIN JAARI. That film showed the protagonist hiding about being a part of a condom company and then marrying into a conservative household. CHHATRIWALI also has the same basic plot. It’s only in the second half when it takes a different track that it manages to impress. A few developments are not convincing. It’s bewildering that Sanya used chemicals to excel during kite-flying but didn’t have one to stop the leakage in her house. Moreover, the humour is limited though there was a lot of scope for it.
Speaking of performances, Rakul Preet Singh delivers one of the best performances of her career. She also handles the lead role very well. And she has never looked so cute in a Hindi film at least. Sumeet Vyas is dependable and gives a fair performance. Rajesh Tailang keeps his act restrained and it works well. Satish Kaushik is adorable. Prachee Shah Paandya leaves a mark in a brief role. Dolly Ahluwalia is fine but gets a raw deal. Rakesh Bedi (Madan Chacha) adds to the fun, especially in the scene where men queue up to buy condoms at his shop. Kajol Chugh and Mini Kalra (Riva Arora) are okay. Uday Vir Singh (Rishi’s father) is decent in a small role. Aparna Tiwari (Rishi’s mother) is wasted.
Music is forgettable. ‘Special Edition Kudi’ works to some extent due to the picturization and peppy nature. ‘Chhatriwali’, ‘Main Teri Hi Rahoon’ and ‘Toot Hi Gaya’ aren’t memorable. Manish Dhakde’s background score is way better.
Siddharth Bharat Vasani’s cinematography is appropriate. Swapnali Das’ production design is realistic. Mallika Chauhan and Jia Bhagia’s costumes are straight out of life. Shurti Bora’s editing is satisfactory.
On the whole, CHHATRIWALI is a decent entertainer and makes an important social comment. The performance of Rakul Preet Singh and a strong second half also makes the film worth watching.
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