Starring: Abhay Deol and Neha Dhupia
Director: Sanjay Khanduri
Another credible member of the thinking cinema was encountered recently, titled Ek Chalis Ki Last Local. Directed by newbie Sanjay Khanduri, Ek Chalis sees Abhay Deol staying true to his hatke cinema trend with Neha Dupia frantically trying to get rid of her sex-symbol tag. After the immensely successful soundtrack, this movie has created more hype then it started with.
Ek Chalis is a dark comedy, with real people, real situations in the real world. The story in a nutshell is about various events in Mumbai between 1.40am and 4.40am with Abhay’s character Nilesh and Madhu (Neha) forming the crux of the events. They bump into each other when they miss Ek Chalis Ki Last Local and start their journey to Vikroli on foot when they fail to find a taxi or cab. What they encounter whilst on the journey forms the basis of the story.
Ek Chalis starts off very slowly and does not grab the viewer’s attention until a good 30 minutes into the movie. The screenplay is smooth from there on with minimal flaws. Some sequences need to go on for a while which might make some viewers impatient. Devoid of any chamak-dhamak, the movie deals with usual and unusual moments in a smooth and suave manner. Sequences which may not be readily addressed in Indian cinema and that can be categorised as bold are dealt with confidence, so they do not seem crude or vulgar. Dialogues are straight out of everyday life. Despite being tagged as ‘experimental,’ Ek Chalis is a package deal. It has romance, action, comedy, drama…you name it.
Ekka Chauka and Bheegi Bheegi Si are the only songs that are extensively used as background music. No lip-syncing. The highly popular Lahree Chooti was MIA. It was not even in the beginning and ending credits. The remaining songs were cleverly incorporated into the film so one doesn’t seem to mind the absence of the routine song and dance sequences.
If you have kept track of Abhay Deol’s works, you will realize that he is an extremely talented individual. He does not disappoint in Ek Chalis. The best thing about his performance is it is so honest. The amount of reality he invokes into his character is off the charts. When a superstar does an art-house film, one can really see how hard they worked to get that ‘real’ look. Abhay is a complete natural. Neha Dhupia is trying to get rid of her Julie image and she has taken great steps towards that goal with Ek Chalis. She manages to pull off a relatively complex character with ease and proves to be as talented as she is beautiful. The supporting cast, despite the new faces were an excellent bunch of talented individuals who added ‘chaar chands — four moons’ to Ek Chalis.
To conclude, Ek Chalis is not a bad watch. It is certainly a re-fresher from the usual bundle of films and has a number of tracks in its narrative that have rarely been addressed in Indian cinema. It a good time-pass film with a few thought-provoking moments, some laughs and reflections on life.