The Anupam Kher-Sachin Khedekar-starrer is a recommended watch
Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein is a lesson about art of living. It’s about living life for today. The story goes thus – due to circumstances, one fine day, a workaholic IT professional, Aditya Pradhan (Sachin Khedekar) finds himself reliving this one Sunday over and over again. As Aditya figures out his dilemma, we do, too. It’s his routine – Sunday wake-up call followed by the events of the day that haunt him. His world is inhabited by the same people every day, but they don’t know that the day is repeating itself. He is the only one who can remember what happened yesterday. In another sense, his tomorrow never comes. Now, trapped in some kind of time warp, Aditya tries to seek help. He relies heavily on a blind man, Benaam Kumar (Anupam Kher). Benaam Kumar shares his wisdom and helps Aditya realise the importance of life.
The film makes the most of the sentimental possibilities in Aditya’s rehabilitation. But it also has fun with the nihilism while Aditya attains some sort of nirvana. Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein is painfully witty with resonant comedy. Its jokes are more apt to prompt gentle giggles than rolling in the aisle. Though the film is basically a comedy, there are underlying dynamics that go deeper. The story’s premise starts out lightweight, but becomes strangely affecting and at times tedious. Much as it attempts to not sound or seem preachy, trying to support its doctrine with anecdotes and examples, the second half still ends up like a lecture in moral science.
The film is packed with a storehouse of talented actors mainly from Marathi theatre, and their performances are loud caricatures of the characters they portray. Sachin Khedekar is back in top form with a clever, varied role that draws upon the full range of his talents. His character is believable and appealing. As in his previous movies, this time too, Sachin makes a transition from a supreme, selfish, money-oriented, egotistical person to a nice guy, and this time he does so with particularly good grace.
The talented Anupam Kher as the enigmatic blind man is disappointing. His character is not convincing enough to appeal. Also, Anupam does not seem to have graduated from what he has been doing forever.
Overall, the film is conceived as a sitcom style film. The director, Pramod Joshi in his maiden Hindi venture, has sensitively handled this complex theme. The film tries to resolve too many complexities of the human mind debating over issues like ‘ego vs pride’ and ‘aim vs vision’ in a very straightforward, in-your-face manner, making it sound like a moral science class. The edit, though crisp, suffers due to its repetitive narrative. The script could have been a bit taut. If only the songs were dropped, the film would have had a meaningful appeal.
This film is truly inspirational for the urban dream chaser to introspect their lives. It sucks you in before you know it, and has just enough unexpected originality to keep you from feeling bad about enjoying it so much. A recommended watch.
Film: Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein; Actors: Anupam Kher, Sachin Khedekar, Mrinal Kulkarni, Atul Parchure, Anjan Shrivastava, Suresh Menon; Director: Pramod Joshi; Rating: **1/2.