It may be a film made for kids, with kids, but it will find fans with every adult who watches this one!
When Salman Khan makes a commitment, he keeps it. And this time his foundation, Salman Khan Being Human, in association with UTV Spot Boy, decided to play on the side of a bunch of kids in the latest film to hit the marquee: Chillar Party. The story is simple – 10 small boys from Chandan Nagar housing colony come together to sight for their four-legged bhidu (buddy). The cast is composed of a group of children chosen by first time directors and writers Vikas Bahl and Nitesh Tiwari, after two months of audition: Sanath Menon as Arjun/Encyclopedia, Rohan Grover as Ramashanker/Akram, Naman Jain as Balwan/Jhangiya, Aarav Khanna as Aflatoon, Vishesh Tiwari as Laxman/Second Hand, Chinmai Chandranshuh as Lucky/Panauti, Vedant Desai as Silencer, Divji Handa as Shaolin and Sherya Sharma as Toothpaste. They meet Phatka (Irrfan Khan), the domestic help, and his dog, Bhidu, and become a happy-go-lucky gang, each sticking up for the other when needed. But soon there is a cloud on their sunny horizon in the shape of a politician who is as big and bad as the scummy world that he is part of. He wants to rid the city of stray dogs – Bhidu and his kind – and will do anything to get his way.
There is a touching honesty about not just the story, but every one of the characters that populates it. And the tale is told with simplicity and much of that same honest attitude, too. There is masti-mazaak, yes, but there is also a lot to learn from this rag-tag group. They give freely, be it time, friendship or whatever money they can come up with. The chaddi march through the streets of the city is charming, with so many little bottoms of various shapes and sizes sporting underwear in different states of preservation trotting along in one large motley procession! Jhangiya’s logic about not wearing underpants is hilarious and the love that Phatka has for Bhidu is not just enviable, but tear-inducing.
The best part about Chillar Party is the easy way with which the narrative moves along. The adults – parents and teachers mainly – are not preachy or contrived and are not seen or shown as the baddies either, which in a children’s film is indeed refreshing. There is melodrama in the end which does not do the movie any favours, and the chat show sequence, where the kids meet the politician, seems forced. But the youngsters are, for the most part, allowed to be themselves and they do it so well! Grown-up actors could learn a lot from these tykes.
If this is an example of a film made for children, there should be many more of them. And we would watch every one and applaud madly right through!