Ujda Chaman movie review: Director Abhishek Pathak forgoes finesse, subtlety in storytelling in this poor adaptation
Your sympathy in Ujda Chaman, bypasses Chaman and rests with the more sorted Apsara whose affections for this selfish and spineless man are completely misplaced
castSunny Singh, Maanvi Gagroo, Saurabh Shukla, Karishma Sharma
What do you do when an astrologer predicts that your 30-year-old son must marry before he turns 31 or risk a lifetime of celibacy? If you are mummy and daddy Kohli (Atul Kumar and Grusha Kapoor) then you go into a tailspin and panic about your first-born’s fate.
Chaman Kohli might have been shaken by this prophecy, and keen to find a suitable wife before the year is out. But Sunny Singh’s deadpan expression makes it’s impossible to gauge what Chaman is feeling. Singh looks vacantly unsettled for the entire 120-minute film that pivots around Chaman’s early baldness and repeated rejection by prospective brides. This deeply receded hairline also makes Chaman an easy target for heckling and teasing on the campus where he teaches Hindi. The students are cruel and unkind, exacerbating Chaman’s self-consciousness.
Desperation drives him to create a profile on an online dating app where he is paired with Apsara (Maanvi Gagroo). She is as aware of her ‘healthy’ build as Chaman is of his hair loss. Both judge the other based on appearance. The introduction to their two sets of parents is the meet-cute moment of the film and, even while Apsara and Chaman are disinclined, the grown-ups are over-enthusiastically plotting wedding dates.
Sunny Singh is given a monologue when Chaman, having had an epiphany, delivers a speech about being comfortable in your own skin and not judging a book by its cover, etc. But oh dear, the vacant, slightly obstructed expression is hovering around.
Your sympathy bypasses Chaman and rests with the more sorted Apsara whose affections for this selfish and spineless man are completely misplaced. Gagroo deserved a better written character. So then it’s up to Grusha Kapoor, Atul Kumar and Gagan Arora (as Chaman’s younger brother) to inject vitality into a dreary remake, but even their gags and heightened bickering become repetitive.
Ujda Chaman is a poor adaptation (Danish Singh) of the 2017 Kannada film Ondu Motteya Kathe (Story of Egghead) directed by Abhishek Pathak. The director amps up the background music and sound effects in an attempt to underline the lame attempts at humour and also forgoes finesse and subtlety in storytelling.
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