Subhash K Jha speaks about Chamku

By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network

This brutal film about oppression injustice and Maoist rebellion gets its strength from Bobby Deol's silent seething suffering performance, quite like Sammir Dattani in Mukhbiir, the other espionage drama this week on intrigue infiltration and espionage generated from a sense of socio-political inequality.

The film opens with a violently-staged shoot-out on a speeding train between upper-caste Brahmins and victims of social oppression who've turned into naxalites. From there, the narration moves with the silently pained hero from one situation to another until the protagonist's self-identity becomes the biggest casualty of the violence around him.

There are some convincing shots of the anxious hinterland in both 'Bihar' (probably shot in urban Maharashtra) and Mumbai where one crucial twist in the feverish plot takes us into a mall where Chamku, the hero, spots the Thakur who slayed his family back in his Bihari village. Far-fetched? Yes, and utterly filmy.

Danny Denzongpa has an interesting cameo as a wise Naxalite leader and Chamku's mentor. He alas, dies prematurely leaving the plot as orphaned as poor Chamku. Bobby's rapport with the intelligence officer Irrfan needed more fleshing out. This is a shadowy world of danger, brutality and violence done in tones that could've been less shadowy and sketchy.

In Chamku, director Kabeer Kaushik gives his protagonist more scope for romance than a film of this genre needed. Priyanka Chopra looks pretty in her plain colourful chiffons-a touch of the Yashraj banner in a film that Prakash Jha could have made, and made more realistically.

Bobby conveys his character's pain in ways that are heartwarming. Alas, the film doesn't match up to the pain and warm of its leading man's eyes.

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