Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Chehere – Caught in a time-warp that’s becoming  but not exciting!


Cast: Manisha Koirala, Divya Dutta, Jackie Shroff, Rakesh Bedi, Hrishita Bhatt, Gulshan Grover, Aarya Babbar, Bob Brahmnhatt, Geeta Vij

Director: Rohit Kaushik

Rating: * * 1/2

Runtime: 120 mins

On the lines of an Indianised version of an Agatha Christie mystery, this film is a whodunit set somewhere between the 50’s and 60’s ,in the UK, a period when voice took over cinema in a big way and silent stars were left groping for a foothold in a new climate of connivance , sexual promiscuity and rampant ambition.

 Fading star of the silent era, Tarana (Manisha Koirala) is living off her past glory in an ostentatious mansion along with her crippled  and bitter sister Amanat (Divya Dutta) a singer who once had starry aspirations, their adopted daughter and a host of servants. Tarana’s annual get-together/party with former colleagues, lovers and friends  which include producer /director Rai saab (Jackie Shroff) and his conniving wife Jhankaar (Hrishita Bhatt) and a Doctor (Gulshan Grover) who appears to be hot for Ms Tarana while caring for the wheelchair bound Amanat. Into this motley mix of possible murderers is thrown a suitor for the young daughters’ hand, Madan (Aarya Babbar) who is also reckoned to be a famed expert on poisons much sought after by Scotland Yard, no less.

 One would have expected from that fact,  that the murderer would use poison to do the dastardly deed. But no such luck here.  So Contrivance beckons. What looks like a suicide ends up becoming conveniently  concluded as a murder. So the rest of the crowd assemble for impromptu interrogations and the final revelation is one borne from scriptural obligation rather than solid evidence based fact. While the whodunit doesn’t have any merit, the period look and atmosphere created of wistful alienation through vituperative deep-rooted spite depicted with the help of nostalgic reruns is quite effective. Writer /Director Rohit Gupta loses the plot along the way though. The saving grace here are some neat performances from Hrishita Bhatt, Aarya Babbar, Manisha Koirala and Divya Dutta. The rest is plain baloney!