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Film Review - Chhal

Chitra Parayath

Director: Hansal Mehta; Lyrics: Amitabh Verma; Music: Viju Shah
Cast: K. K., Jaya Seal, Prashant Narayanan, Naved Aslam, Sri Vallabh Vyas, Manav, Sanjay Mishra, Manoj Mishra, Raj Mishra, Ragesh Asthana, Abhijit Lahiri

In the movie Chhal as in life itself, the cost of winning seems too high as the cops seem as oblivious to the human cost of their work as the mob is.

Despite some gratuitous violence, Chhal, for the most part, presents a dramatic examination of the emotional and moral core of the tough-guy loyalty in mob land that usually goes unquestioned.

Largely inspired by the Al Pacino – Johnny Depp starrer Donnie Brasco (now that is one classy flick!) the tale revolves around a young and righteous Police Officer, Karan Menon ( Kay Kay) who is recruited to infiltrate the Bombay Underground Mafia to gather information and help destroy a violent gang led by Shastri (Sri Vallabh Vyas) and his heir Girish (Prashant Narayanan).

He finds his loyalties divided when he unwittingly becomes close to Girish, the hotheaded young mobster and develops a romantic interest in the latter’s sister. The two men form a friendship--and a criminal partnership--that jeopardizes Karan’s mission and blurs the boundaries between the law and the underworld.

As Karan grows increasingly disillusioned with the police force and his assignment, he begins to realize the bitter truth that he himself has become a part of the great farce being played out.

Kay Kay is an earnest young actor, not your typical Bollywood Chocolate hero like Aamir or Salman but there is character in his facial features that lends great gravity to this particular role. Prashant Narayan as the over the top young mobster is adequate as is Jaya Seal as Karan’s squeeze.

The film is supposed to have been made with a small budget and was shot in 40 days. Director Hansal Mehta deserves a pat on the back for keeping the film fast paced and slick. The script by Suparn Verma is excellent and Viju Shah surprises with a pleasant musical score.

Watch this film if you like the genre, if guns and gangland violence put you off, this one ain’t for you!

The review of this film is sponsored by Raja and Rana, the grocery store located in Burlington, MA

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