Director: Hansal Mehta
Platform: Amazon Prime
Starting a career with the television show Khana Khazana and later moving to films like Shahid for which he won the National Film Award for best direction, Hansal Mehta is a kind of gem that very few entertainment industries have. His film collaboration and trust in Rajkummar Rao always win hearts whenever they come together. After the critically acclaimed film City Lights (2014), Aligarh (2016), Omerta (2018), they both are back with an old-fashioned story-telling style set on the drop back of Haryana where the sports arena becomes a testing ground for Montu Singh played by Rajkummar with a pinch perfect Haryanvi lingo.
Chhalaang is an exalting story of lazy and indolent Mahendra Hooda aka Montu who is appointed as PT teacher in Sir Choturam secondary school at the behest of his father (Satish Kaushik). Instead of teaching students the practicality of sports, Montu focuses more on handling principal Usha's (Illa Arun) personal and household work. He is also befriended by his school teacher Shukla (Saurabh Shukla) who is quite old to Montu but still, their understanding and friendship surpass the age gap. Montu's mother wants him to get married to a suitable girl but he believes in falling in love and one day a new computer teacher Neelima (Nushrratt Bharuccha) enters into his life. Her first glimpse makes him his heart beat for Neelima but later on, he realizes that he canoodling her parents in parks when they were just going for a walk. Despite knowing the fact, she makes him learn how things need to be understood and Teri Choriyaan song by Guru Randhawa is enough to showcase their love for each other.
Things changed with the arrival of independent Singh Sir (Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub) who graduated from Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports Patiala that made him more experienced and well deserved than Montu. Principal Usha informs Montu to work under Singh Sir's assistance and this thing makes Montu furious and the fear of losing his love Neelu makes Montu fight for his self-respect and job as well. So who will win the fair game, the one who is facetious and frivolous, or the man who is already a champion? Well, you'll get to know once you watch this social drama.
This time, Hansal Mehta moved towards social drama film which focuses more on Indian sports and how it is treated in government schools. Through this film, he wants to prove his point with the fact that students just need motivation and support from their parents as everyone wants a Sachin Tendulkar, Saina Nehwal but nobody wants to cheer their own roots who have the capability to become something. Luv Ranjan, Aseem Arrora and Zeishan Quadri are the writers who wrote Chhalaang and their story was well-versed based on the drop back of the real Haryana. After a long time, a story by Luv Ranjan doesn't include any sarcastic comedy on girls.
Director Hansal Mehta has shown Haryana city but that does not mean that the film doesn't have flaws well, they can be ignored. Cinematography by Eeshit Narain is commendable as each shot of a frame is pitch-perfect with the accordance of state setback. The film is edited by Akiv Ali and Chetan Solanki and they both tried to short the film as it required but still, somewhere you feel it could be edited more.
Rajkummar Rao is among those Bollywood actors who never disappoint you in any role, he always portrays it with much essence and dedication. In the film also he perfectly played the role of Montu and adapted the straightforwardness and with a brilliant accent. Saurabh Shukla's quintessence is one of the strong points of the film, his dialogue delivery, presenting himself in the emotional ride is much perceptible. Nushrat Bharucha as Montu's love interest is visible on the screen through her acting chops although we haven't seen much of her adopting the accent but her work and style are worth watching. Hansal has provided her equal space along with the other characters. Ila Arun as principal is promising and Jatin Sarna is as convincing as Dimpy. Satish Kaushik as Montu's father is ponderable and sensible.
But the man who stood tall with Rajkummar Rao is Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. Well, we have seen the actor in numerous roles and with Chhalaang, his screen presence boosts the storyline. His dialogue delivery, a short flirting scene where his poet form spread magic with his poetry, 'Arre Lanet hai Meri Nazar Pe Ki Aap Miss Ho Gayi', was like holy basil in a tea.
Overall, you too will miss your school days after watching Chhalaang. The film leap is a refreshing story that teaches you how to move forward, not to give up, do something and in the end teach good sportsmanship. Dialogues like 'Naukri Pyaari Hai par Izzat Jayada Pyaari Hai', 'Apni Gaali Mein Toh Kutta Bhi Sheer Hota Hai Aur Socho Hum Toh Hai Hi Sheer Aur Humari Gaali Mein Bhahar Se Aaya Hua Sheer Bhi Kutta Hota Hai', are praiseworthy and meritorious. We have a verdict, Hansal Mehta, for presenting good cinema and with Chhalaang, he proves that he can direct any kind of cinema whether it is serious that raises social dilemmas or a family film. His earlier release series, Scam 1992 is the perfect exemplar of his top-notch work. All in all these 136 minutes of Chhalaang jumps on the occasion of this Diwali and is a 'leap' of the perfect entertainer. So avoid going outside amid the pandemic and watch it with your family at Amazon Prime.