Director: Sachin Yardi
Cast: Abhay Deol, Mithila Palkar and Vijay Raaz
Director Sachin Yardi’s film is uniquely Mumbai complete with –a small town mulgi Nirma Sahastrabudhe (Mithila Palkar), Artist (Abhay Deol) a con artist who aspires to be a chef, Fayaz Bhai (Vijay Raaz) a gangster and his bakra named Bahubali.
What starts off with a seemingly innocuous conversation about numerical mumbo-jumbo between Nirma, (who has just bought herself a new car) and the showroom salesman about the sum total of the digits on the number plate, turns out to be a precursor to events that unfold soon after!
In an unexpected turn of events, the brand new car is stolen and the threat of an impending visit from the parents to look up her latest acquisition plays the perfect trigger to set Nirma off on a wild goose chase. Fate intervenes and a helpful thief she meets at the cop station tips her off about Artist, a con artist who could help her find the missing car.The merry chase that follows takes us, the audience, on a sight-seeing trip, one that we haven’t been on for some time. Shot across Mumbai locations, Chopsticks does dish out some unusual aspects of the city like CBI—Chillar Bank of India—a light-hearted look into the network of beggars spread across the city or the workings of the stolen–cars-industry. These are the bits that make you want to watch more. The opening scene in Chopsticks is brilliant in capturing middle-class foibles. Nirma obsessing over the dangers of her car’s number plate digits adding up to 11 instead of 9 is one such!
Yardi’s story is both clever and predictable in a way that it does not wear out the audience but it never gives you a peal of satisfying, rip-roaring laughter. Nirma, a fond throwback to the washing powder made popular by its tv jingle) it is quite evident is meant to be the butt of quite a few jokes later in the film. Most of them land well. Like the instance when she shares with Artist the reason her father named her after the famed washing powder brand and other such.
Unfortunately, the characters, for the most part are underwhelming and lack dramatic savoir faire. Nirma, perhaps is the only exception. Palkar channels her wide-eyed ingénue and works her charm yet again. The new favourite with Netflix, Palkar appears to be quickly settling in with the small-town-girl-in- the- big- city image, one that she reiterates yet again in Chopsticks.
Artist, one of the pivotal characters, although a charming presence is one- note and unconvincing. The result of an underdeveloped script is that Deol, as Artist, seems more a Bandra hipster out on a slumming adventure in a semi-constructed apartment with a swanky kitchen than someone from the wrong side of the tracks. Vijay Raaz on the other hand, shines despite a small part. However, it is too little to compensate for the rest.Given that Chopsticks has been created for the digital platform (a Netflix original), the film despite the blandness may well prove to be appetising for viewers browsing through.