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Chitrakut Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : 3.5 / 5

Chitrakut Movie Review : A must-watch slow burn on losing love and finding oneself

Story: Five youngsters (Saloni, Shaan, Debu, Alisha and Kim) go through the motions of life—finding and losing love and undergoing a metamorphosis to discover themselves, with their paths converging at some point.

Review: The movie opens with the mention of Chitrakut in Central India, the place where Ram and Seeta lived in the initial years of their exile, and found bliss in each other. Briefly. The protagonists find love and fleeting bliss, leading to something more meaningful—their true calling. This phase is used as the metaphor for love and life in the film.

First things first, this flick is a slow burn. Even though it involves youngsters, sexual escapades, complicated relationship status and so on, do not expect edgy and raw stuff like Dev.D or LSD. It’s more delicately and aesthetically made fare.

Debu is a junior chef newly dating an upcoming fashion designer Alisha, only to be dumped as she still has feelings for her here-today-gone-tomorrow boyfriend from the merchant navy. Parallel to theirs is the story of a dancer Saloni and Shaan, a hot-headed and troubled horse race-fixer who believes in planning a split to avoid the emotional turmoil and heartache. While they get back together, Debu meets and falls for an old baker friend, Kim. This is where things get a bit bizarre. Kim’s boyfriend Ashwin is a gangster who takes a now unemployed Debu in his squad. Tired of being a pushover, Debu finds his newfound power addictive. When Shaan refuses to fix a race because it would involve hurting a horse, Debu and gang are given the job to thrash him up.

As Saloni nurses Shaan back to his feet, he seethes with rage and vengeance. This is the turning point where you would expect revenge and lives going awry but thankfully, there’s no space for such predictable plot. The only seen-before stuff here is the five characters’ paths crossing one way or another. But what happens after that leads to Saloni, Debu, Shaan and Alisha all discovering the meaning of love and what life has in store for them.

Auritra Ghosh shines as the girl with a difficult past who finds an outlet in dance, as does Kiran Srinivas as Shaan. Their chemistry on-screen is worth mentioning. Vibhore Mayank as the simple guy Debu impresses but falters in the part as a gangster.

Actor-turned-director Himanshu Malik (of Anubhav Sinha’s Tum Bin fame) has done a remarkable job with his debut. The direction, cinematography and even the music are all on point. The charm of the movie lies in its subtlety. In the opening sequence, Debu makes a sketch of Alisha with bangs and she is shown sporting this hairstyle in the end when she finds happiness. Or then mirror as a motif to symbolise self-reflection, with the movie starting with a reflection of the trees and the Sun on still waters. The story has also weaved in different forms of art—culinary, baking, fashion, dance, and sketching as self-expression.

In the day and age of edgy and salacious fares, this mature saga makes for a soothing watch when you want things to slow down a bit.

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