CHINTU KA BIRTHDAY: A single day,10 ARTISTS,Shot in a SINGLE ROOM,
STILL a first rated DRAMA

BY AAKASH WADHWA

 A Single day, 10 Artists, Shot in a Single room, Still a FIRST rated DRAMA.The 01 h 23 m film is much more than its title though saturated around it. The screenplay is a pure middle class indian drama churning the highs and lows of emotions on the birthday of the youngest member of the family, with pure Bihari accent and strong Hindu beliefs, stuck in Iraq.  The co-writers and co-directors of the film Devanshu Kumar and Satyanshu Singh have built the characters very relatively and one promptly connects to the characters right from scene 1.

The craft of the scenes is done so well, that one in reality time-travels while watching this film. The Nokia mobile sets, oven arouses nostalgia in viewers. I have no reservation to exclaim that they have written their debut feature film so well that it deserves to remain on the top charts even in the coming weeks. Adding to the attractions, the film is produced by comedians Tanmay bhat, Rohan joshi and their team of All India Backchod under their production house First Draft. 

The main characters are starred by Vinay Pathak, Tilotama Shome, Seema Pahwa and Vedant Chibber

Accolades: The film won the Viewer’s Choice award at the Jagran film festival last year. After releasing on the OTT platform ZEE5 it has managed an IMDB rating of 8.3/10 and in this lockdown 5.0/Unlock 1.0 it appears to be on the top charts of the viewers. 

Character sketches: 

The sweet father, Madan Tiwari, who just wants to see every member of the family smiling, hero-worships Lord Hanuman and harshly follows his ideals of honesty, sweetness, goodness which at points in the film goes to extreme levels but is compensated by the responsibilities of the patriarch and him taking the fall for the plight of his family.

 

The junior tiwari, Chintu, or the focal point of the plot is a small boy who has just turned 6 on the present day. Bespectacled,well combed and dressed ready for his school can easily make any millennial remember his primary days. Chintu’s childish character is emerging every now and then when irrespective of the difficulties and the hard situations, he just wants his birthday to be celebrated in a pomp and show manner. 

 

His sister, Lakshmi, has a very small screen time compared to other main characters yet her character is well built and her presence is well felt in the scenes. She is innocent and understands the outdoor conditions very well. She is as caring as a sister should be and at a point of time she even breaks after knowing she won’t be able to surprise her brother with a bash on his birthday, her Nani is the victim of her being broke when she outburst on her.

The homemaker, Sudha, is a typical Indian mother, caring wife and the support system of the whole family. She is quite simple in both looks and character, lacks apt knowledge of what’s happening around but still comforts the little members and her husband every now and then.

 

The maternal grandma, Nani, is the most pessimist character in the plot who leaves no stone unturned to let down her son-in-law whom she accuses of every bad situation. According to the narrative of chintu, her pessimist character evolved from a happy, contented mother in law when the times went bad. 

 

The landlord, Hassan Mahdi, is the most mysterious and suspicious character whose untold story remains untold throughout the film. What is sure of him is that he is musophobic, his act of being unwilling to enter a dark room fearing rats, testifies it. He narrates his days in prison and the effect of them in his life. The head narrating his story to army men victimises him more by stating that he hasn’t seen his wife for 13 years and was once a family man and now just has hopes and nothing else to live with. Also his acts show his unconditional love for the Tiwari family.

The two States Strike commandos, Darren Reed and Louis Jackson, both are well built and perfect for the army, the former is not much acquainted with the ground realities and has just been transferred from Georgia while the latter is a resourceful person. Both are very cocky in their ways and their    ‘commando’ character is beautifully and dutifully built. But they also have a prejudice for the locals which shows the hypocrisy of the states raiding Iraq for the betterment of Iraqis. 

 

 

The two attendees of the bday party, Waheed and Zainab, waheed is the most bold and swaggy character among the children who is victimised by the war conditions. He is well acquainted with the Americans and their culture which makes him resemble a cool country boy in the States. Comedy revolves around him in his intro scenes which depict him as a black trader of blue films. But later on his gifts to chintu, the sculpted hand of Sadaam and extremist DVDs put the family and the family man into deeper troubles. Zainab on the other hand is a shy character, not speaking and appearing much on the screen. 

 

Plot:

 The scene opens with Chintu, getting ready for his school and gearing up his enthusiasm for the 6th birthday celebrations. Armouring himself with toffees and blessings of elders he receives a phone call signalling the suspension of school, this tenses him as being a 6 yr old all he wants was to feel special on his birthday but it seemed that replicating the last year, this year also the lil boy will suffer from the big boy fights but his dad assures him a birthday bash like never before. A small narrative indicating the past of the family follows which depicts how the Bihari commoner made high numbers in sales and came to Iraq and now due to his illegal migration is left unclaimed by the Indian Government.

Meanwhile his sister enters with the landlord, who is more like an uncle to the boy.The landlord’s dialogue “we give the world to men,,, and see what they do” aroused goose bumps in me and I was deeply driven by the thought. The family in the absence of bakery-cake makes attempt to bake a home-made cake and the girl is busy revealing surprises to her brother. Incidentally a car bomb blasts, and two tall American commandos take the charge of their house and the landlord goes into hiding in the place which he feared the most.

 The Americans were about to leave the house and suddenly the hidden man makes sounds out of his fear of rats and the troubles get doubled for the family man. They two are detained by the cops and were to leave for the army base but a second car blast follows which changes the fate of Tiwari as he is freed by the Cop’s generous act having pity on the child’s birthday. But the latter is detained till he breaks out of the charge with the help of his tenant. 

The entry of the friends of Chintu is simultaneously witnessed. The boy, Waheed, seems to be an acquaintance of one of the cops. The pessimist Nani leaves no effort in discouraging the acts of the family man. Everything goes in the favour of the birthday party till the Cop discovers extremist DVDs and searches the house for more clues, assaulting Tiwari, who tries to save the real owner of the DVD, Waheed. 

The helpless father begs for his son’s bday celebrations in front of the cops and in turn promises his arrest. The sweet, kind, too good and emotional celebration follows which leaves the officers emotional and they set him free and free the house of their charge. The sweetness, optimism and goodness of the father influences the son in a lot of positive aspects. And like the hero of the man , Hanuman, he won at last by honesty, truthfulness and kindness.