Rating: **

There are some films which one can’t wait to see the end of. Chhatriwali is a prime contender for the most dreary dreadful and dull film of the year. I know, the year has just begun and I am sure there are several more slumberous celluloid atrocities waiting to inveigle our senses before we can say, ‘Akhanda’.

But seriously, Chhatriwala is a pill hard to swallow. Or perhaps considering the theme, a protection hard to trust . Like one of those leaky condoms that Rakul Preet Singh and Satish kaushik giggle over, Chhatriwala is like an umbrella with so many holes that you stop counting after a while and just run for protection from the pouring rain.

There are some good actors here, like poor Rakesh Bedi. I can’t remember when was the last time he played something better than a buffoon. In this film he comes and goes as a matchmaking Chacha and pharmacist who frowns at anyone who asks for condoms. It’s like the Bihar police arresting a Russian citizen for an ampoule of vodka.

Satish Kaushik as condom-factory owner is given a hideous wig , probably as protection against the people of Karnal attacking him for…a) selling something as evil as condoms , b) being in a film so terrible that one forgives Raza Murad for doing Kanti Shah’s films.

The very talented Rajesh Tailang is the eldest son in a conservative family who refuses to wear protection although his wife has had multiple miscarriages and abortions.

“You must persuade your husband to practise safe sex.” The gynaecologist counsels Prachee Shah Pandya who ties a cloth around her forehead throughout the film to control a perpetual headache.

I tried the same while watching the film. It didn’t work.

What exactly is the purpose of this film? Beyond telling the public that condoms are not evil.Surely there could be a more entertaining, less painful way of putting the message across. The film is also about dignity of a labour. Even a woman can work in a condom factory without blushing.

Sanya Dhingra takes a long time to reveal her job profile to her husband played by Sumeet Vyas who looks so lost he could be a potential patron for Pathaan who strayed into a shooting location while searching for a tout selling tickets.

The film seems to have been written to highlight for Rakul Preet Singh’s cosmetic collection. Even when she is in the kitchen pretending to fry pakodas she looks drip-dried and dewy. She throws her lines about safe s*x at the other characters as though rehearsing for a school play on s*x education.

There is a standing joke about Sanya riding pillion daily into the factory next to her workplace so that her husband doesn’t get to know what she does for a living. She befriends a watchman who becomes her ally in a situation that he doesn’t understand.It is the only time we get to smile in this tedious humourless comedy .

I don’t see the sale of condoms going up after this film. But I do see the tourism in Karnal going down.Who would want to spend his holiday in a town filled with such boring people?