The film in a way transforms itself with the protagonist, initially, the film feels sluggish just like the protagonist but as soon as the preparation for the competition starts, the film starts forming depth and a new sort of energy rises.
Hansal Mehta is clearly one of the best filmmakers in India. He has collaborated with Rajkumarr Rao four times before and he hasn’t failed once. They are back with another film and this time it is a sports drama with similar results. Amazon Prime’s new exclusive, Chhalang features Rajkumarr Rao as a reluctant PT instructor Montu who finds a chance to offer his period so that he could roam and eat samosas in the free period. He even helps the principal of the school in unloading blankets for her daughter’s wedding.
Things change when Neelima( Nushrat Bharucha) enters the school as a computer teacher. Montu starts admiring her the moment they meet. But, an incident from the past ruins his first impression. Things become worse when the principal ( Ila Arun) hires a more qualified PT instructor called IM Singh ( Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub) for the school and suggests Montu to work under him. But, Montu doesn’t accept this and with the help of Shukla Ji ( Saurabh Shukla), he convinces the principal to organize a three-game competition. Whoever wins, he will get to keep the job of the PT instructor.
It’s easy to abandon the game than to face defeat. From cricket to athletics, Montu has ultimately given up on everything and because of this competition, he decides to finally wake up. The film in a way transforms itself with the protagonist, initially, the film feels sluggish just like the protagonist but as soon as the preparation for the competition starts, the film starts forming depth and a new sort of energy rises. Cinematographer Narain masterfully executes the second half of the film with perfect slow-mo and fast-paced shots. Not for once, a single actor losses his character.
Rajkumarr Rao never losses his unique Haryanvi tone. Nusrat effectively plays the role of a witty woman in a place where everyone feels to be a dimwit in some way or the other in front of her. The rest of the supporting cast did an amazing job. Overall, Chhalang may feel a bit slow initially but it gradually picks up the pace and delivers a solid rom-com with a touch of sports and a valuable message at the end.
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Nushrat Bharucha, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Saurabh Shukla, Satish Kaushik, Ila Arun, Jatin Sarna.
Director: Hansal Mehta
Streaming: Amazon Prime Video.
Verdict: A simple and enjoyable rom-com that also works as a sports film.