Chintu ka birthday makes me feel good about the future of Indian cinema
Team Nathi Nonsense recently went for the screening of Chintu Ka Birthday, a film that we wished to watch since it was released at the MAMI film festival. We had the anticipation that it will be released at a cinema in Ahmedabad but never really expected that there will be shows at all.
Then, they released this:
Not a trailer, just people reacting to the movie and we were compelled to check shows in Ahmedabad and lo! They had just 5 shows on weekdays, at 7:45 Monday through Friday. We booked tickets right away.
2019 is coming to an end. The year, like any other, has had its own flavors throughout- sometimes sour and sometimes bitter on a level that ranged from personal, social and even national. This film, however, was a dessert at the end of this flavorsome meal called 2019.
It is hard to write this piece because all of us were left speechless after watching the film. Now, since we make it a practice to stay after the film to watch the credit roll (a never-ending one after Chintu Ka Birthday) we met a few people outside the cinema who wanted to take media bites from us talking about the movie. We were speechless and that was all we could say. But now, a day later or so, with the effect of the film still fresh on our minds, let me talk about why this film makes me feel hopeful.
Let’s not talk about the plot and the story.
Most film reviews start with giving a peek into the plot, story, and characters (basically everything but the climax point, fortunately.)
I personally believe there is a reason they did not release a trailer and I respect that and would like to keep it like that and would urge you to trust me and all those who say “GO WATCH THAT PIECE OF ART”
The director/writer duo Devanshu and Satyanshu Singh are perfect for directing films because they are a bunch of artists who aren’t tied to one artform. I will be talking about my personal takes later in this piece, starting with one belief that I have: A good artist does not criticize jack of all, master of none. A good artist is Jack, who experiments with many art forms and borrows aspects of one art while creating through another. That is why many of the best films are written and directed by the same individual. Devanshu Singh and Satyanshu Singh are perfect examples of a “Jack,” having contributed to many films that will be known as masterpieces of the Hindi cinema. An excerpt about them on IMDB: “Devanshu is a National Award-winning filmmaker with a wide range of experience across writing, direction, and production. Apart from co-creating the multiple award-winning short film Tamaash, Devanshu and his brother Satyanshu Singh have also penned lyrics for the indie Sulemani Keeda (2014) and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Ferrari Ki Sawaari (2012). The poems featured in Vikramaditya Motwane’s cult classic Udaan (2010) were written by them. Devanshu has been directing several lauded digital content pieces and ad films in collaboration with reputed brands and leading Indian digital creators, including AIB, OLX, Kissan, Manyavar and more. He directed the Shree Ganesh Apnepan Ka film for Brooke Bond Red Label and Flush Ke Baad for BBC which garnered immense praise. He recently completed post-production on his feature debut”
This 80-minute film is produced by AIB’s First Draft productions. Sound familiar? This will clear your doubts:
Tanmay Bhat – producer
Rohan Joshi – producer
Gursimran Khamba – producer
Ashish Shakya – producer
Naveed Manakkodan – executive producer
Mayank Choudhary – line producer
Cinematography by Queen, Bhavesh Joshi, Lunchbox and Kahaan fame Siddharth Diwan
Editing by Charu Shree Roy
Fabulous casting by Yash Nagarkoti (personal thanks for curating and bringing to us refined yet underrated child actors like Bisha Chaturvedi and the now award-winning actor Nate Scholz)
DevD fame production design by Sukant Panigrahy
Costume Design by Niharika Jolly (interesting fact: most actors apart from Chintu himself have donned the same piece of clothing throughout the film)
Special mention to the Sound department who are the unsung heroes of this film:
Soma Bhattacharyaa – dialogue editor
Bishwadeep Chatterjee – sound designer
Sainath Chavan – sound
Sajjan Choudhary – foley artist
Pragyan Gogoi – sound effects editor
Justin Jose – atmos mixer / re-recording mixer
Kingshuk Moran – sound editor
Shijil Nair – assistant re-recording mixer
Sarat Panda – boom operator
Prabal Pradhan – Production sound mixer
Karnail Singh – foley artist
Joseph Thomas – assistant re-recording mixer
And all the endless human power that contributed towards making this film what it is.
The jury awards this film bagged:
Devanshu Kumar (director)
Satyanshu Singh (director)
One Two Flip Entertainment (production company)
Best Negative Role
Nate Scholz (actor)
Devanshu Kumar (director)
Satyanshu Singh (director)
Source of the entire abovementioned list- IMDb
A cherry on the top of the cake: they even mentioned the person who designed/made Chintu’s cake(s) in the film. I am so glad I waited for the credit roll to end before leaving the cinema hall like Indians leaving a plane as soon as it lands.
What I think
Personally, as a cinema enthusiast, the cinephilia hits hard every time a good film hits the silver screen. In the age where everything is changing so fast, print media is starting to wear out, going digital, cinema houses, mostly iconic landmarks, with sublime legacy are also destroyed to make commercial complexes and the whole audiovisual entertainment industry migrating to smaller screens, Chintu ka Birthday is a sigh of relief, a ray of hope, while it promises entertainment as well as a socio-political commentary.
Since we are already talking about things that I believe, I also have an opinion about what good films are. I believe a good film is complex, deals with human emotions in their purest form through characters with backstories that contribute to the setting of the story that the film tries to enact, capture and reflect. Chintu ka Birthday checks all boxes. Bonus points for keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout, with impeccable sound design throughout the film that transported me to the room it was shot in. Even the silence experienced throughout the film was strategically designed for a certain reaction and the applause it received from the entire cinema hall at the end of the film proved that this film was a perfect example of good art. There were many moments that also make you laugh in the most serious of moments which is a very difficult thing that the writers and directors of this film have been able to achieve in utmost perfection.
Tillotama Shome seems to be doing only seemingly art-house films but that is because she has been doing films with great storylines. Vinay Pathak proved once again what good acting can do to a character, and hence, the entire film. He seemed to be the center of the entire film, is the tailor that sew together every scene there is. That brings me to Chintu, the birthday boy, who, through equally good acting skills, innocence and cuteness dripping off his face did a pretty good job.
All in all…
These are the films that should be the basis on which the ‘Indian cinema scene’, for the lack of a better term is flourishing and puts us on the world map of beautiful films. And again, GO WATCH IT.