Chintu Ka Birthday
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Tillotama Shome, Seema Pahwa, Vedant Raj Chibber
Director: Satyanshu and Devanshu Singh
Chintu Ka Birthday, as simple and unrelated the title may sound to the real story at play, deals in pressing issues of our times like migration and identity, thus stressing on the movie's relevance now more than ever. Director duo Satyanshu and Devanshu Singh keep the storytelling simple and deliver entertainment and morality lessons with subtlety while arousing empathy in the viewers for the characters and their situation.
As seasoned and effortless actors like Vinay Pathak, Tillotama Shome and Seema Pahwa lead the narrative, one becomes quickly invested in the heartwarming tale of a family that is not unlike us, and in facing borderline fatal circumstances due to government and system's negligence, the Tiwaris become us and vice versa.
For the story, USA has invaded Iraq and Madan Tiwari (Vinay Pathak) and his family of four are ones who have failed to evacuate in time. Now, they are stuck and suffering in the war-torn state, rather meekly because by now they are used to keeping their head down due to constant sound of explosions, shelling and door to door movement of armed forces or local extremists, howsoever their luck may turn out on the particular day and time.
On the occasion of Chintu's (Vedant Raj Chibber) birthday, the family is to receive a much-awaited call on whether they will be rescued or not. Meanwhile, Madan and others keep Chintu's hopes alive that he can celebrate with 25 guests joining despite the city being a hotbed of violent activities. Of course Chintu knows better and is not seen responding any differently when only 2 invited guests, his friends from school, finally make it to the party.
The turning point comes when US soldiers knock on Madan's door and we instantly know that this certainly cannot mean anything good for the family. The directors are building up to this moment by introducing a suspicious man--Hassan Mahdi (Khaled Massou), the house owner.
While Chintu Ka Birthday could have slacked off and turned predictable, it manages to keeps us invested by introducing minimal plot points at each turn thus leading the story in a slow burn style. Humanity saves the day when we least expect it.
As for performances, Vinay has led the movie on his shoulders with a good assist from the supporting cast. It is mostly Madan's story because both secretively and openly the Tiwari family blames him for their condition. To absolve Madan in viewers' eyes, a voice over of Chintu is used early on and later his compassionate behaviour towards others makes us root for him. The ending is unexpected and you will surely be surprised with it.
What works in the favour of Chintu Ka Birthday is its premise and modest approach. The story unfolds inside a house and gives time for the viewers to invest in. Chintu Ka Birthday is a whiff of fresh air in the family drama genre in Bollywood and somehow blends in the mix with other genre content on OTT. You can watch it if you are in mood for something sweet and simple. Chintu Ka Birthday is streaming on Zee5 now.
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