Verdict: Plusses outshine the minuses in this Ninja-Payal love story.
Channa Mereya arrives with a baggage of expectations. For starters, it is the debut movie of Ninja and Amrit Maan, who both have a decent fan following in Punjab. Secondly, Pankaj Batra’s last outing Bambukat was a blockbuster and the viewers are expecting another superior movie from the talented director. And lastly, the movie is a remake of 2016’s biggest Marathi hit, Sairat. Does Channa Mereya manage to win viewers’ hearts? Let’s analyze!
Channa Mereya is a about Jagat Singh (Ninja), a good looking boy from a poor background, who falls in love with Kainat Dhillon (Payal Rajput), the local MLA’s daughter. Initially they start seeing each other secretly, but when their relationship is revealed, they end up facing rebellion from Kainat’s brother Balli (Amrit Mann) and father (Yograj Singh). Do they manage to get approval of their love from the world around them or do they take some bold steps to hold each other’s hands for the rest of their lives? For the answer, watch Channa Mereya.
There are many factors which go in favour of the movie. Love stories are not new to Punjabi cinemagoers. But if the love story manages to hold viewers attention for over two hours, it means the makers have done their job well. Channa Mereya succeeds in that. Right from the first scene, the viewer is mesmerized with the honesty and innocence of Jagat and the charm and confidence of Kainat. The first hour of the movie is immensely likeable as Jagat and Kainat start liking each other. Moving forward, the track where Balli chases Kainat and Jagat is scary and the viewer’s heart goes out to the couple. A couple of sequences remain etched in viewer’s mind even after the movie concludes – when the couple moves to Dalhousie and the realities that hit them, when Kainat calls up her mother after five years and the emotional outburst that follows, and the finale, which is absolutely heart-rending.
Ninja makes a decent debut. He goes overboard in a few sequences, but does manage to leave an impression. He has a well-toned body and given a few more films, he has the taking to become a fine actor. Payal Rajput is a stunner. She looks pretty and acts confidently. She is the only unknown face amongst Ninja, Amrit Mann and Yograj, but still leaves a mark with her performance. Amrit Maan gets a small but significant role. His character has grey shades and he is completely in sync with his role. Yograj Singh plays the antagonist. He looks and acts evil in the movie. It’s difficult to take your eyes off the veteran every time he appears on screen. Karamjit Anmol makes the viewer fall in love with him. His one liners are amusing and the viewers will thoroughly enjoy his act. B.N. Sharma is first rate.
Director Pankaj Batra, who has himself penned the screenplay of Channa Mereya, seems to have fallen head over heels for Sairat. Although the story and most of the scenes are similar, his direction speaks volumes of his talent. He knows the pulse of Punjabi cinemagoers and has incorporated the setting, ambience and characters accordingly. He has deftly executed a few sequences, which prove the point that he is one of the best in business.
Music (Gold Boy, Jaidev Kumar and Sonu Ramgarhia) is one of the high points of the movie. Hawa de Warke is the best song of the album, while Door is soulful. The background score (Surender Sodhi) increases the overall impact of the scenes. DOP Vineet Malhotra wonderfully captures the green fields of Punjab and white snowy mountains of Himachal Pradesh. The dialogues (by Jatinder Lall) are in sync with the mood of the film.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Channa Mereya is a wonderful portrayal of clash between innocent and inseparable love of a couple and the ego of an affluent family. Watch it for Ninja and Payal’s love for each other and how they take on the world to be together. The highlight is the climax to the love story which the Punjabi audience has not seen in the recent past.
– By Gurlove Singh