Hello Charlie movie review: Aadar Jain's mindless comedy is rife with bad performances, poor writing

Hello Charlie is constrained by a banal narrative that's stifled by the bright colours, madness and irritating characters that populate this slapstick adventure

Udita Jhunjhunwala April 09, 2021 20:03:11 IST

1/5

Mr Makwana is a banana hating businessman on the run from the law – that’s the running gag in writer-director Pankaj Saraswat’s (far-from comic) comedy Hello Charlie. Jackie Shroff plays Makwana, adorned with a silver toupee, ponytail and a huge fraud charge on his back, he is trying to flee the country.

His arm candy, Mona darling (how original), suggests he escapes in a gorilla suit. The ridiculous idea comes to her from a news report about a hit movie called Monster Monkey.

The one funny scene is Shroff/ Makwana watching monkey videos to get into the act. Costume got, idea in place, Mona (Elnaaz Norouzi) now hires the dumbest kid on the block to drive Makwana cross country to the port of Diu.

Aadar Jain plays Charlie, who you might be kind enough to describe as a ‘simpleton’. Absolutely devoid of street smarts or any useful skills, his only redeeming quality is he’s a nice chap. So a nice, but simple, chap with a borrowed truck is transporting a man who he believes is a primate who is actually a fugitive by law.

In the universe of Hello Charlie, a gorilla could be changing a punctured tyre on the side of an Indian highway and not one passing vehicle will stop to look or take a picture. Not to mention Charlie having no curiosity about the texture of Toto the gorilla’s fur, skin or tyre changing abilities.

To complicate matters, and create a case of mistaken identity etc., a real gorilla has escaped a plane crash. Charlie also has a clash with an opportunistic circus owner who wants to acquire the talented Toto. This circus in Gujarat features a showcase song and dance by Padmini. Why is there a Punjabi item number being performed in a circus tent in Gujarat in a supposedly children’s film?

Charlie finds an unexpected ally in dancer-performer Padmini (Shlokka Pandit), who is indentured to the circus owner. Together they free Toto, but can Makwana escape the cops and Charlie’s idiocy?

Of the performances, the gorillas completely upstage the human actors who are constrained by a banal story. If there is a comment on scams and frauds in the country, it’s stifled by the bright colours, madness and irritating characters that populate this slapstick adventure.

Hello Charlie is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 

Rating: *

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