Verdict: Chumbak wins you with simplicity and elegant storytelling.
When a Bollywood actor backs a regional film, the film garners more attention and that works superbly for Chumbak. Backed by none other than Akshay Kumar, Chumbak is a story of a sweet and unlikely friendship forged between a teenager who is not sure whether he can sell his soul for his dream business and a simple, mentally challenged man with his own quirks and issues. Sandeep Modi has written and directed the film with a lot of heart and soul and it shows.
What’s Chumbak About:
The 15-year-old Bhalachandra aka Baalu (Sahil Jadhav) works as a cleaner/waiter at a restaurant in Mumbai but dreams of starting his own sugarcane juice stall. However, he gets swindled and loses his savings. In desperation and frustration, Baalu along with his “wise” friend Disco (Sangram Desai) think of ways to get Baalu the capital he needs, by hook or by crook. They devise a plan to dupe someone and that’s when they meet the simple-minded and “mentally slow” Prasanna (Swanand Kirkire), who is enamored by the idea of winning a lottery. Their lives get progressively intertwined, except that things take a weird turn. Soon the charade turns into a comedy of errors only to converge into a beautifully crafted end.
The screenplay is simple. Modi keeps the story, the dialogues, and the treatment real. The film invokes more than a couple of chuckles and entertains throughout. Small, silent scenes end up conveying so much more than their talkie counterparts. Modi presents two vastly different individuals, with different points of view and moral compasses. Baalu struggles to take the path his mature friend Disco suggests, “If you get duped, you have to dupe someone and they dupe someone else and that’s how the world goes on”. He is not totally on board with resorting to immoral means to fulfill his dream but sees no other choice. Prasanna, on the other hand, refuses to harm and steal other people just because he was robbed, despite struggling with poverty himself. Baalu’s seething frustration, his helplessness, and his dilemma are complemented exquisitely by Prasanna’s unique, simple character. The performances are heart-warming and editor Chandrashekhar Prajapati keeps the film crisp.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film seems to drag in a few scenes and you might notice yourself getting impatient to know what is in store for you next, as you are hooked right from the first scene. Be patient and allow the film to unfold in its own time.
WhY you Should Watch:
Films like Chumbak are a rare blend of a strong script coupled with well-written dialogues and sweet performances. Sandeep Modi doesn’t let anything come between you and the main thread of the film – friendship and trust – not even his own narrative. Chumbak steals your heart and mends it, leaving you feeling all warm and fuzzy. Watch Chumbak with family this weekend.