Business rating: 0.5/5 stars (Half star)
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Kay Kay Menon, Ravi Kishan.
What’s Good: The performances; a few comic scenes.
What’s Bad: The lack of superb comedy so necessary in a film like this; implausible plot because it rests on a weak foundation; its TV serial-like feel.
Verdict: Chaalis Chauraasi is a dull fare with only the performances of the actors as its real plus point. But that’s just not enough. Considering its budget, it will entail a big loss.
Loo break: Some in the second half.
Watch or not?: Watch it for the acting.
Maask Entertainment and Filament Glo’s Chaalis Chauraasi (A) is the story of four men who impersonate policemen to carry out a mission which will secure their futures.
Pankaj Suri a.k.a. Sir (Naseeruddin Shah) used to be an English professor who was imprisoned for ten years for killing his wife. After serving his jail sentence, he now works as a driver for hawala king Balsara Choksi (Manoj Pahwa). Bhaskar Sardesai alias Bobby (Atul Kulkarni) is an aspiring singer who ends up as a pimp. Albert Pinto (Kay Kay Menon) is a car thief who is extremely fond of a particular brand of Fiat cars. Shakti Chinappa (Ravi Kishan) is a drug peddler. Sir learns of a fake currency notes racket and plans with his other three friends to loot Rs. 20 crore (real money) from the racketeers who have dispensed the fake notes in return for the real money.
The four get a stolen van painted like a police van as they intend going to the racketeers’ den, posing as policemen and traveling in the fake police van. However, the stolen van (number 4084), painted to resemble a police van, is further stolen so that the foursome is forced to steal a real police van to carry out the operation. A few hours before their plan is to begin, a police inspector, Mahesh Nayak (Rajesh Sharma), intercepts their van and asks them to help him nab gangster Tony Bisleri (Zakir Hussain) who is holed up in a lodge. The four crooks have no option but to pose as policemen on the beat and accompany inspector Mahesh Nayak who actually knows that they are impersonators but pretends otherwise.
Once Tony Bisleri is arrested, Mahesh Nayak threatens to kill the four who, to save their lives, reveal their plan to loot Rs. 20 crore and now lure Mahesh Nayak to carry out the operation and keep the cash for himself. Mahesh Nayak seeks the help of these very crooks to get hold of the Rs. 20 crore under the belief that only two men are guarding the cash. However, there are not just two but more men who give the plunderers a tough fight. As luck would have it, these racketeers had stolen the van painted to resemble a police van and bearing the number 4084. What happens thereafter? Who finally gets/keeps the cash – the racketeers, the four crooks, inspector Mahesh Nayak or Tony Bisleri?
Chaalis Chauraasi Review: Script Analysis
Before talking about Yash-Vinay’s script , two important points – firstly, the drama looks like a TV serial in terms of the uni-dimensional subject and secondly, even this may have worked commercially if the film had been made, promoted and released in a controlled budget of Rs. 4 or 5 crore but given the investment of almost Rs. 14 crore, recovery seems to be a remote possibility or rather an impossibility.
Yash-Vinay’s subject sustains the audience’s interest in bits and parts only. Although the film is designed as a crime comedy, the humour does not evoke laughter at too many places. Had the comedy been extraordinary and hugely entertaining, even the script may have worked but given that the humour is not very funny, the film remains an ordinary fare. The second half and especially the action and crime portions are so long-drawn that they give the audience too much time to think – and that is another sore point. The very foundation of the robbery plan – that there are only two men guarding Rs. 20 crore – is weak because it seems absolutely ridiculous to imagine that there’d be only two persons taking care of such a lot of cash. This is a very big weak link in the story and it keeps disturbing the viewer. In short, Yash-Vinay’s script starts to look like one of convenience after a point of time. The dialogues are good at places but ought to have been more humour-laden.
Chaalis Chauraasi Review: Star Performances
All the four main actors act brilliantly and make the drama more engaging than it is. Naseeruddin Shah appears every inch the rogue he plays. He does an absolutely splendid job. Atul Kulkarni is fantastic; he evokes laughter in the scenes in which he gets scared in spite of being in police uniform. Kay Kay Menon is also very natural and shines, evoking laughter at places. Ravi Kishan does a wonderful job and complements the other three very ably. Rajesh Sharma is effective and leaves a mark. Zakir Hussain gets limited scope but acts with aplomb. Manoj Pahwa makes his presence felt. As his wife, Nilima Uttarwar is lovely. D. Santosh as Chandu, Shweta Bhardwaj as Madhu, Vinay Apte as garage owner Mhatre, Digvijay Rohidas as inspector Kalsekar and Yuri Suri, Arbaaz Khan, Pradeep Kabra and Megh Pant as the Haryanvi gang of racketeers lend able support. Jehangir Karkaria is excellent as the Parsi Fiat car owner.
Chaalis Chauraasi Review: Direction & Music
Hriday Shetty’s direction is appropriate but his choice of subject definitely leaves a lot to be desired. Lalit Pandit’s music is nothing to shout about but goes well with the mood of the film. Madhmast main ho gayi re and Setting zaala songs have appeal for the front-benchers. Piyush Panchal’s choreography in these two songs is quite nice. Najeeb Khan’s camerawork is of a good standard. Ashok Kadam’s art direction is alright. Editing, by Bunty Nagi, is reasonably sharp.
Chaalis Chauraasi Review: Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, Chaalis Chauraasi makes a mark for the performances by the lead actors but that will not be enough to recover the investment. Therefore, it will entail losses to the concerned people.