Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Athiya Shetty
Director: Debamitra Biswal
Stories of small-town domestic minutiae are currently the favourite subjects in our movies and Motichoor Chaknachoor follows the trend firmly. This time the premise is about Anita (Athiya Shetty) aka Annie whose deepest desire is to marry a guy living abroad so that she can give a fitting rebuttal to friends showing off their charmed lives on FB. Sounds like an issue plucked from our daily lives that signals delightfully funny possibilities right?
And so the parade of potential grooms begins but the outcome on most occasions is not a happy one. Anita refuses many rishtas because the groom is not in a position to take her abroad. And then some of the reject her too.
As the Chinese proverb goes, be careful what you wish for it may just come true, and so it does for Annie. As an answer to her prayers, enter Pushpinder Tyagi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui)-- the neighbour's son—who is back from Dubai and now hunting for a bride. Unlike Annie, 36-year-old Pushpinder is not choosy. He is willing to agree to the first prospective bride because unlike his mother and scores of Indian grooms, he is self-aware and certain that there is no “ladkiyon ki line’ waiting for him.”
The prospects of Annie and Pushpinder getting hitched seem bleak until they do. It all starts with some sage advice from an unmarried mausi that Annie decides to set her sights on Pushpinder as the man who can fulfill her dreams. One could wonder whether liberated young women still see husbands as a meal-ticket to fulfilling their dreams of a cushy life, and Motichoor Chaknachoor possibly spotlights those that do. Annie quite clearly is one such. It appears as though her dreams are on their way of coming true. But as we all know, in a film that's not possible without a twist. The hindrances are created by Annie’s own ability to measure up to expectations.
To make matters worse, it comes to light that Pushpinder no longer holds a job in Dubai--he intends to stay back with his family and work in Bhopal instead!
What is refreshing about Motichoor Chaknachoor is that it touches upon instances of female hypocrisy such as the ‘Ladke ki ma’, a special social status of its own in India, forcing the demand down the son’s throat despite his protestations. Or, as Pushpinder rightly points out, young women not taking responsibility for their own ambitions--these are great subplots but the writers do not develop them adequately. On the bright side, there is enough hilarity to make you want to watch what eventually happens to this marriage of convenience but not enough meat in the scenes to heighten the comedic flavour to its optimum, something we have witnessed in films such as DreamGirl and Bala.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui with his pokerfaced humour is ever-reliable although a little more attention to the styling of his character would have gone a long way in making his performance stand out. But it is Athiya Shetty who is quite a revelation. She delivers an impressive performance as Annie as does the rest of the supporting cast. For a new director, Debamitra Biswal handles her material well. There is an eye for detailing like the winter wear and jewelry in small towns. Dialogues too get the tone and context right. It is the screenplay that is a big letdown.
Motichoor Chaknachoor could have been a blockbuster comedy. But alas, with its ambling laidback storytelling style, it falls short. This comic tale about a marriage of convenience gone wrong at best makes for a good home watch on an OTT platform or TV channel.
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