DIRECTION: Rumy Jafry
DURATION: 2 hours 20 minutes
Chehre starring Emraan Hashmi and Amitabh Bachchan has released in select theatres across India on the 27th of August, 2021.
Chehre is a film that encountered constant roadblocks with production issues and actor changes form Kriti Kharbandha to Krystle Dsouza, intended to be released in July 2020, the film had been fluctuating between a theatrical release or a direct release to the OTT platform.
The movie for sure gathered eyeballs around it simply as Emraan Hashmi and Amitabh Bachchan would be seen on-screen for the first time together.
As a film Chehre is based on how Sameer Mehra (Emraan Hashmi) who is an advertising agency chief gets stuck in the middle of nowhere – which is a place that has snow all around it with minimal communication system and proper motorable roads.
How he gets invited by Paramjeet Singh Bhuller (Annu Kapoor) to his friend’s house/ mansion – where rest of the characters are present and how they play a game related to criminal justice that cracks open a can of past worms, events, showdowns that Sameer Mehra (Emraan Hashmi) least expected.
The film is inspired from the 1956 novel “A Dangerous Game” – written by Friedrich Durrenmatt
External Wikipedia link about the Novel
Good Aspects of the film
The supporting cast – The film’s cast is an ensemble, consisting of some of the top notch brilliant talents that we have in our country right now. Raghuvir Yadav who essays the role of Hariya Jatav appears to be one of the most ordinary men, who plays flute or I am assuming tries to play flute because personally for me the sound that came out from the flute was not melodious . While his portrayal might be a little off, his body language of a retired Hangman is wonderful, especially his eyes, which speak volumes.
Siddhant Kapoor who plays the role of Joe, a man Friday(loyal servant) to the retired men that assemble at the Mansion. He plays his role well given the fact that he can’t speak in the film and his approach to the character remains decent.
Dhritiman Chatterjee as Justice Jagdish Acharya who is the owner of the house/mansion and Annu Kapoor shine in the supporting cast – one hand we have (Dhritiman Chatterjee) who is sensible and composed and the other (Annu Kapoor) who is loud and animated as a Sardaar (wonder why they show Sardaar’s like this because I have a lot of Sardaar friends and on a scale 1 to 10 only 1 seems loud rest of them are perfectly normal), both of them create an impression.
All The Cast Links with their character names have been taken from Wikipedia
Premise On Paper
If you have read the book “A Dangerous Game” then you for sure know that you’re in for a delicious thriller! A mock trial with a stranger with a grey past slowly unfolding.
Set it up in the backdrop of snow-capped mountains with zero communication coupled up with experienced old men of the justice system who work their way through Sameer Mehra’s trial is what Chehre is all about!.
But does the above actually gets rolled on-screen? This is like the Hamlet question “To be, or not to be” – is something I shall tell you further in my review.
Amitabh Bachchan & Emraan Hashmi
This as previously mentioned is a first time when both of them have been casted together. Hashmi has openly confessed that he agreed to act in the film because it gave him a lifetime opportunity to be in a single frame with the LEGEND, Amitabh Bachchan.
I was pleasantly surprised to get to know that Mr Bachchan has done the movie Free Of Charge! – which speaks volumes on how impressive the on paper script might have been for him.
The link that says Mr Bachchan did the film FOC
While the director definitely utilises the LEGEND through concluding monologues, Hashmi for me was a much more interesting character. An Advertising agency head Sameer Mehra (Emraan Hashmi) who is arrogant, manipulative and downright BRUTAL in the way he addresses others.
I think here Mr Bachchan may have given lessons to Hashmi on his approach, or like LEGEND’s do – give space, belief and support to the second most important character of the film. It’s like watching MSD giving Virat Kohli his umbrella of experience, which later on he can bask in (sorry but I am an Indian, hence the cricket reference).
The Underwhelming Aspects
Awkward Moments – Rhea Chakraborty’s sudden giggles to again going back to a poker faced maid of house was awkward for me , I get it that the makers want to establish the fact that her Character (Anna) has a troubled past, but in my view there are better ways of showcasing it on-screen rather than sudden giggles and zero stares. The second awkward moment for me in the film was the pool scene featuring Krystle Dsouza (Natasha Oswal) – which lady wears a swimsuit under her gown? “thoda zyada ho gaya mere liye” – unnecessary skin show that has zero context in the screenplay of the movie. The third awkward moment for me was Sameer Mehra (Emraan Hashmi) character learning that Krystle Dsouza is his boss’s wife only after they start to date, either Sameer Mehra is an alien working from different planet for the advertising agency or he’s dumb to the D! “Boss ki wife kaun hai aapko pata nahi? Like seriously? A total Bummer for me! LOL”
Second Half Screenplay – This is the saddest part about Chehre, because it builds up your anticipation beautifully till the interval point. The second half starts to crumble in many ways and for someone who’s read the book or has seen a similar kind of cinema knows that it’s headed for a disaster – but is secretly praying that his/her prediction doesn’t come to life!
It comprises of a series of flashbacks that are put in for the viewers to understand that what may have happened in Sameer’s (Emraan Hashmi) life that has made him stand as a convict during the mock trial, but the execution of these past events are handled so amateurishly that it takes away the engaging premise on paper.
This is where I think Rumy Jafry fails – because in the past he’s only worked on humorous films and not a suspense, slow pacing thriller.
Having said this I don’t take anything away from his body of work – he has been a super successful screenplay writer for over 30 years now and has given us movies like – Coolie no 1 (both the original 1995 Govinda starrer and the 2020 Varun Dhawan starrer) to Saajan Chale Sasural (the 1996 yet another box office money churner starring Govinda again).
Rumy Jafry work link
Dialogues & Theatrics
The movie opens to Senior Bachchan sitting on a throne that in every way he owns – and says some powerful lines like “Umar ki raftaar, Waqt ki maar sahenge Chehre, jism chale jayenge, lekin zinda rahenge Chehre” sets the context of the movie brilliantly! But what transpires later are all passable dialogues, which don’t stay with you.
The powerful monologue by Amitabh Bachchan in the 1989 movie Main Azaad Hoon where he speaks in an auditorium as Azaad to the commoners, press and politicians – is a standing and proven fact of the talent of the LEGEND – every line in it hits a homerun – do you know why? Because it is set in a perfect context to the film.
YOUTUBE LINK OF THE SCENE
Chehre attempts to do the same with Amitabh Bachchan’s eight minute monologue!
Sadly it fails to impress despite his amazing screen presence and his proper pauses the monologue seems forcefully put and unwanted.
The concluding aspects of Chehre lead to a super paced chase sequence and events that lead to the end – leave you wondering why did it end so abruptly?
The ending sequence has Bachchan giving a disclaimer that goes by “Accha suniye agar aap mein se kisi ne koi apradh kiya ho toh bahut sambhal ke yahan se guzariye gaa, yeh khel aapke saath bhi khela ja sakta hain!” – While he delivers it to perfection but it feels like the last makeup attempt of the film to impress you.
In my view movies like the 1975 released “12 Angry Men” and its Hindi remake “Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (which coincidentally also stars Annu Kapoor)”, which released in 1986 or even a “Pink” that released in 2016 are superior films when compared to Chehre.
It pains me to give the movie such a rating – because it had all the ingredients to make its place as the best suspense film.
No offense Bachchan Sir – but you have raised the bar so high for yourself that this falls flat and yeah before I close my review I’d say Emraan Hashmi you are a powerhouse of talent and I want to see you shine brighter!
My Rating: 2.5/5