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Chhatriwali Review: Rakul Preet Singh delivers a sluggish film that neither entertains nor educates

Rakul Preet Singh starrer Chhatriwali is written by Sanchit Gupta and Priyadarshee Srivastava and is directed by Tejas Vijay Deoskar. It is streaming on Zee5.

2/5rating
Chhatriwali Review: Rakul Preet Singh delivers a sluggish film that neither entertains nor educates

  • Reema Chhabda

Last Updated: 04.45 AM, Jan 20, 2023

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Story:

Sanya Dhingra (Rakul Preet Singh), a chemistry teacher, is searching for a full-time job to support her struggling family in Vijay Deoskar's Chhatriwali, which is set in Karnal. As luck would have it, Ratan Lamba (Satish Kaushik) soon offers her the position of quality control head at his condom company, a position she reluctantly accepts due to the social stigma and perception associated with the product. She ultimately realises the importance of her position and genuinely embraces it, but sadly, this leads to a bunch of issues in her personal life. Chhatriwali is all about how she fights that while still supporting a more important cause.

Review:

In India, there is virtually minimal information on sex education and safe sex practises. Even though it's a crucial topic to discuss, it's still frowned upon in Indian culture. Tejas Deoskar has made a stride forward by making Chhatriwali, a movie about the value of having safe sex. In the Karnal-based film Chhatriwali, starring Rakul Preet Singh, Sumeet Vyas, Satish Kaushik, Rajesh Tailang, and Prachee Shah Paandya, a female chemistry genius fights a significant societal taboo by educating youth about sex education.

The 1 hour, 55 minutes film begins with Sanya Dhingra (Rakul Preet Singh), a chemistry tutor, who is urgently looking for a job until she crosses paths with Ratan Lamba (Satish Kaushik), an elderly uncle who owns a condom factory. When Sanya, who is first apprehensive, joins his factory as the quality control manager, things take a bad turn when she develops feelings for Rishi Kalra (Sumeet Vyas), the proprietor of a Puja store. When Sanya learns that her sister-in-law Nisha Kalra (Prachee Shah Paandya) has had multiple miscarriages and abortions because her husband Rajan Kalra (Rajesh Tailang aka Bhai Ji) doesn't want to use condoms because he sees them as improper, trouble starts to arise.

Sanya is astounded by Rajan's way of thinking and decides to make a change in Karnal by promoting safe sex, sex education, and the value of using protection. When her husband Rishi and his entire family find out about Sanya's real job, things don't turn out as planned. They threaten to have her leave their home if she doesn't resign from her work out of embarrassment for her. What follows is a string of incredibly dull and draggy events intended to inform the residents of Karnal about safe sex.

Chhatriwali is not one of those preachy Bollywood movies that exclusively discusses a significant social topic. It makes an attempt at humour and entertainment but fails miserably at both. The movie is rife with sexist and patriarchal slurs, crude humour, and speech that actually makes you cringe. Chhatriwali is a confusing movie since it veers off topic and makes no impression at all. It serves as a good example of why Indian filmmakers shouldn't attempt a subject like sex education unless they are prepared to put everything on the line. Imagine a movie entirely about sex education that never once mentions the term ‘sex.’ Well, that’s Chhatriwali for you.

This movie is expertly steered by Rakul Preet Singh. She offers her all in this poorly written script. As Sanya's mother, Dolly Ahluwalia is not particularly noticed. Sumeet Vyas as Rishi is terrific. Rajesh Tailang and Prachee Shah Paandya both do a good job portraying the parts of Bhaiji, a biology teacher who thinks youngsters shouldn't need to learn about sex, and his wife. As Mr. Lamba, Satish Kaushik is hilarious. 

The direction by Tejas Deokar is baffling. He wants to talk about safe sex without making it appear taboo, yet with Chhatriwali, he actually does just that. The writing by Sanchit Gupta and Priyadarshee Srivastava fails to de-stigmatize the movie's sex taboo. It could have been written in a way that was much clearer and more powerful. The small town of Karnal is accurately portrayed in Siddharth Vasani's cinematography, while Shruti Bora's editing is crisp. Mangesh Dhakde, Rohan-Rohan, Sumeet Bellary, and Durgesh R. Rajbhatt all create passable music.

Verdict:

Overall, Chhatriwali is a skippable movie that should have been written and presented in a more inventive and original way.

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