Subhash K Jha reciews Atkan Chatkan

Review Of Atkan Chatkan: Is A Well-Meaning Mess

Atkan Chatkan(Zee5)

Starring Lydian Nadhaswaram, Yash Rane

Directed by Shiv Hare

Rating: **(2 stars)

Somewhere in this aspirational Slumdog Millionaire a young woman roams around looking for her children. We don’t know why she is there. But then, we don’t know we are there either.

Atkan Chatkan gets points for being well-meaning. But eventually, it’s as pointless as a candlelight vigil. The story of a musically inclined boy Guddu(Lydian Nadhaswaram) and his four young friends who form a band and eventually win a music contest is so predictable clichéd trite and over-sentimentalised that many times I found myself cringing at the director’s well-meaning but outdated homage to the bleeding-hearts’ club.

Of course, we get the point about the hopes dreams and ambitions of the underprivileged. Just two weeks ago Zee5’s Pareeksha overcome the sheer mawkishness of presentation with a masterful central performance by Adil Hussain as a rickshaw puller who aspires to educate his son.

There are no such redeeming qualities in Atkan Chatkan. The performances are uniformly stilted self-conscious and doddering with dissociative theatrics. Everyone wants to show he or she can act. Lydian Nadhaswaram who plays the central role is effective when beating out a tune on a tin pan or car parts at a scrap dealer’s. But the minute he speaks the stilted dialogues with that South Indian accent he loses his hold over the tenuous thread of the plot.

The children are cast only because they had to be. The girl who plays Guddu’s sister looks nothing like him. And the singing siblings on the bus look like kids from well-to-do homes with parents who have starry aspirations. About the villainous adults, the less said the better. Early in the film Guddu hangs around with a bunch of weirdos who treat him with abusive disdain and even make him dance with a duppatta. Hello, this is child abuse!

With a whole lot of subtlety and restrain Atkan Chatkan could have been the desi Slumdog Millionaire instead of the bloated rags-to-riches saga that it is. Moral Of The Story: honest intentions are not a sufficient incentive to make a film. Every poverty tale is not a Salaam Bombay. This one doesn’t even come close.

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