Good ideas don’t always translate into good films. Chillar Party is one such well-intentioned movie with a message for children and adults alike. It starts off promisingly enough, but loses all track of its audience and script, turning into a confused mess by the time it drags to the end.  And yet, it is to the credit of the enthusiastic, pint-sized cast and Chillar Party’s two writer-directors, Vikas Bahl and Nitesh Tiwari, that you feel that at least in portions, this film is both sweet and fun.

The film’s title refers to a kiddie gang of young boys belonging to Chandan Nagar colony – a rambunctious group of imps with nicknames like Second-Hand, Encyclopaedia, Jhangiya and the rather politically incorrect-sounding one, Panauti. To this motley crew joins the less privileged Fatka, an orphan who earns his keep by washing the cars in Chandan Nagar’s compound and who bunks in an abandoned car with his faithful dog Bhidu. After a shaky start, the Chillar Party gang becomes firm friends with Fatka and Bhidu, and this part is endearing; the lengths that each of them will go to for the sake of friendship.
Yet all of this is threatened by a grim and glowering politician who, for reasons I still haven’t quite understood, becomes determined on getting Bhidu captured by the dog pound. The neta’s agenda comes across as confused, and suddenly Chillar Party takes a turn for the absurd.
To save their beloved four-legged friend Bhidu, the Chillar Party gang takes up a signature campaign to get a No Objection Certificate from the colony’s residents. When all else fails, this group of boys takes out – wait for it – an underwear campaign that has crowds of Mumbai’s kids join in. The sight of all these children marching the streets in their underwear isn’t cute; in fact it feels exploitative, and to a large extent unsavoury. (
The problem with Chillar Party is that it goes about a completely convoluted way to deliver a sweet message. Apart from the fact that the kids here fight for what is right, it also subtly talks about erasing the class divide. Yet where the film could have been warm and cute, the minister angle in the plot botches it up. It also drags on endlessly, so while the children are endearing — especially the terrific Naman Jain who plays Jhangiya — you’ve run out of patience long before the film is over.
I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Chillar Party. It isn’t half bad, but the party pooper here is a script that has no direction home.

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  1. Rajarshi

    July 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

    There seems to be a strange disconnect between what the critic says and what the kids feel after watching this movie. I wonder if an adult critic really gives right perspective of a movie targtted for kids. One should watch the kids reaction while watching this movie, they had a blast!!! Anyway, the director wants to give the message and there is no pretension about it. I really didnt find anything outrageous with that….Its a movie for the kids, message is intended for the kids, and the best part is kids enjoyed it, period.

    • uzma

      July 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

      totally agree raj.. masand should simply buss off…

  2. uzma

    July 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

    The critic here seems to be a little too critical of the movie(which he is of all the movies btw). He fails to undersatnd that this movie goes beyond the normal childrens’ movies with kids acting like dwarfed adults. If we were to ask the critic to point out one single movie with as much humour and originality, I am sure he would be at a loss. The movie is outstanding and refreshing, and teh Kids had a ball watching it. Infact audiences clapped and laughed and cried while watching it(which is a rare phenomenon to happen in our latest cinema)
    So would advise Mr. Masand to stop being a critic( Nobody reads and follows his review anyways) 🙂

  3. Vrinda

    July 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Agree with Rajashri on her assessment. My 7 year old was enamored and so were her 10 other friends who went for the movie. To think of it, there are very few Hindi movies (read also non-animation/ non-Disney) which families can watch together now-a-days. I shudder to think of violence or vulgarity that goes in the name of entertainment. While I agree with Rajeev that the story line could have been better but from the kids perspective it was the imagination which touched their hearts. A 4 on 5 for the effort!

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