SWEET BUT STRAINED
‘Rajma Chawal’ struggles to bring father-son story to life
The closing song of this sensible
but scattered film goes, “Mujhe dosti karne ka shauq hai, mera
dil Chandni Chowk hai” (I love to make friends, my heart is like Chandni Chowk).
What is it about Old Delhi that drives filmmakers crazy with yearning and nostalgia? So many memorable and not-somemorable films — from BR Chopra’s Chandni Chowk to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6 and Kabir Khan’s
Bajrangi Bhaijaan — have pitched their tents in the crowded ‘galis’ (streets) of Chandni Chowk where the sun sets and the jalebis never stop sizzling in the streetside ‘kadhaai’ (wok).
Here, Leena Yadav, who gave us the brilliant Parched two years ago, is not as comfortable dealing with an estranged father-son duo’s attempts to iron out their differences as a gaggle of friends and distant relatives in Old Delhi egg them on. A tech-savvy aunt and her daughter-in-law (played with wonderful charm by Nirmal Rishi and Sheeba Chaddha) suggests that the father chat on Facebook with his son.
The scenes where the two ladies set up Rishi Kapoor’s Raj Mathur on the iPhone with his son Kabir are done with a sense of reined-in fun.
But then it all comes undone. The plot hops, skips and jumps all over the place barely able to avoid the potholes it creates for itself. For one, it is hard to swal-