Chhatriwali is marked with brilliant turn by Rakul Preet Singh
In the modest town of Karnal in Punjab, Sanya Dhingra (Rakul Preet Singh) is looking for a job while teaching young children. She ultimately finds one when she impresses Ratan Lamba (Satish Kaushik), who offers her a job as quality tester in his condom-manufacturing plant at a staggering monthly salary of Rs. 50,000. Ecstatic about the money, Sanya accepts the job despite her personal reservations and hides it from her mother (Dolly Ahluwalia).
Soon, it is time for her to get married, as she and Rishi (Sumeet Vyas) fall in love and get married with the approval of their families. Rishi runs a puja material shop and his elder brother, Bhaiji (Rajesh Tailang) is the dominating force in the family, while his father (Uday Vir Singh Yadav) is a docile soul. Sanya is loved by her husband and clan, but—implausibly—hides her job from even them.
All hell breaks loose when a vindictive employee exposes her in the city newspaper after she has “educated” a few women and is on the verge of telling her husband the truth, after lying to him that she works in a prestigious local firm.
The conservative town and family are shocked and she is forced to leave home, as Bhaiji is outraged. Soon, it comes to pass that her elder sister-in-law is a victim of multiple abortions as Bhaiji will not use condoms, which are actually life-savers for women. The rest of the film is about how all the issues are resolved.
While the general idea, explored earlier in last year’s Janhit Mein Jaari, is good (the theme was also used but mauled in Helmet), the script and direction falter big-time in execution. For one, one cannot explain why the local chemist (Rakesh Bedi) is against selling condoms when the demand increases, at least purely as business.
We also cannot understand how, in this day and age, a town has such over-conservative folks and uneducated as well as ignorant women who do not use, want or prefer condoms when everything else there is in sync with our times.
Other absurd sequences include how no one confronts Bhaiji when he does things in excess and the way it is shown that Sanya hides her job from her husband and family so glibly. The long-suffering wife’s outburst against her chauvinistic husband is also absurd in its suddenness and in the way it is done—needlessly—in public. Last but not the least, how does Ratan manage to have staff and operates in such a hostile and regressive town and, later, never even plays a progressive role in the story? We are expected to stomach all such illogic in a saga that is far from sensible about details.
But if there’s any silver lining here, it is in the splendid performance by Rakul Preet Singh as the feisty, doughty fighter that is Sanya. In one of her finest essays in a limited career (along with De De Pyaar De, Runway 34, Thank God), she is beautifully in sync with a character that deserved better writing in the way her life shapes out. Thus, she is the sole saving-grace of this movie.
Sumeet Vyas gives a seasoned performance, ditto Rajesh Tailang and Dolly Ahluwalia. Satish Kaushik’s character is alright but should have been interspersed more into the narration as said before. And Rakesh Bedi is even more irritating than his character is meant to be.
Technically good, the film could have been better off if the director and producer had worked much, much harder than this lackadaisical and uncaring approach to a subject that deserved far better.
ZEE5 presents RSVP’s Chhatriwali Produced by: Ronnie Screwvala Directed by: Tejas Prabhaa Vijay Deoskar Written by: Sanchit Gupta & Priyadarshee Srivastava Music: Rohan-Rohan, Akhil Sachdeva, Sumeet Bellary & Durgesh R Rajbhatt Starring: Rakul Preet Singh, Sumeet Vyas, Satish Kaushik, Dolly Ahluwalia, Rajesh Tailang, Prachee Shah Paandya, Rakesh Bedi, Riva Arora & others