Cast: Lydian Nadhaswaram, Yash Rane, Tamanna Dipak, Sachin Chaudhary, Ayesha Vindhara
Director: Shiv Hare
When a story is told in flashbacks, the audience has the comfort of already knowing how it is going to end. The storyteller, hence, must know how to make the journey to the end delightful.
One day, a celebrated musician gets a package from a childhood friend and goes down the memory lane to when he was a wide-eyed, foot tapping little boy who sought music from his surroundings.
Guddu, later Gautam (Lydian Nadhaswaram) works at a tea shop but dreams to go to a prestigious music school. His financial conditions, worsened by the erratic behaviour of his alcoholic father, makes it next to impossible. He asks for work from a bunch of creepy men in a local band, who make fun of him, only to be able to touch the instruments he will never get to put his hands on otherwise. Guddu then works as a scrap collector and makes instruments out of junk. We later find out, this flair for music is genetic.
His only support is his friend Madhav, a specially-abled boy who loves to read and sells books on the footpath. He tells Guddu, "Does a ballon know that it is a balloon? It only knows how to fly," when the latter laments about not knowing what a musician means.
Madhav's friends are Chuttan and Meethi, two children who beg in buses. When the four kids get together, they decide they will earn money by creating their own band.
It is always heartbreaking to see a child under distress, and hence this film too, will make you uncomfortable. However, as much as we turn a blind eye, it is true that there are thousands of children like Guddu or Madhav who struggle everyday. However, the film is not only gloomy as it conveniently could have been. It captures the spirit of childhood.
The best part of the film is when it starts becoming a musical. The children write their own songs, harmonise and make instruments out of just anything they can get their hands on. However, when they are just being kids, you feel anxious in the back of your minds, hoping that they don't get caught living their childhood.
The music in the film is by the brilliant Sivamani, who knows that the film goes beyond songs that play in the background. Without revealing much, there is a competition in the film, and every team is from a different state. Even if the other teams are shown for five seconds, the makers have ensured that they are singing songs in their own language, which is an amazing attention to detail.
The film is not without flaws. Most of it is in its writing. There are too many stories going on at the same time, and the director's solution to tie them all together is to bring the characters in the same geographical space. Which to be honest, does not always seem logical. There are too many hurdles thrown at the children, which end up only making the film longer.
Lydian Nadhaswaram has surprised us with his acting skills. Young Yash Rane, however, steals the show. Tamanna Dipak, Sachin Chaudhary and Ayesha Vindhara, are promising. Amitriyan, who plays Guddu's drunkard father is sinister.
Even though Atkan Chatkan could have been a little shorter and less complicated, it should be watched with our entire family, because of its adorable cast. Also because it inspires us to never give up on our dreams, no matter what hindrances come in our way.
It's now streaming on ZEE5.