Movie Review: ‘Chak Jawana’ : Just Lesson, No Entertainment

English Translation By-Amritbir Kaur
The story of the movie ‘Chak Jawana’ seems to have been lost somewhere amidst superb acting, soulful music and a meaningful message. The much awaited film of Gurdas Maan could not live up to the expectations of the public. The film was unable to make an effective appeal to the audience because of the poor screenplay. The story of the film revolves around the psychology of the drug addicts, the pitiable situation of their parents and the addicts’ attitude towards society in general. The film throws light on the valid and logical suggestions that can put to effect for solving these issues.

The film is based on a simple and straightforward story line. Gurjit Singh (Gurdas Maan), who is a Captain in Navy, comes to his village on a leave to relieve his parents of their worries and tensions. There he comes to know that his beloved younger brother, Raja (Gaurav Kakkar) and his friends are confirmed drug addicts, due to which their families have been condemned to utter disgrace and pain. Captain Gurjit, with a serious thought after understanding the psychology of such addicts, adopts a unique way of bringing back such strayed people back to healthy ways of life. The youth take it as a challenge and are able to overcome their negative urges. The story progresses till this stage and also keeps the audience involved in it to some extent. But when Captain’s team wins the match, it seems as if the film is over. This is because the other issue on which the film is based is not developed well in the first half of the film but it suddenly gains too much importance in the second half. It also appears as if the writer and director are carrying the story forward just for the sake of giving a moral lesson to the youth. Helping the youth to break free from the vicious circle of drugs, Captain plunges into the field of politics in trying to associate the youth to the social issues. It is because of this drastic step taken by Captain that narrow minded politicians like the Sarpanch (played by Gurkirtan) stand as a prominent obstacle in his path of enlightenment. Captain tastes political success too and thus, gives across a message to the youth through the media at the end of the film. The strong points of this film are its versatile actors and their powerful acting. Gurdas Maan is very spontaneous in his acting and lives upto the image of his character of the Captain. He has played the role of a responsible elder brother in a very responsible manner. Gaurav Kakkar has added grace and charm to the character of Raja with wonderful acting. Rana Ranbir too has done full justice to the character of an unemployed teacher, Master Jassi. He very aptly depicts the pain of being driven to drugs because of unemployment. In the character of Talli, Pardeep Joshi has poignantly presented the psychological state of a young lad who has been enslaved by drugs. He tends to dominate other characters in many of the scenes in the film and in solitary scenes he leaves a long lasting impression upon the audience. During the election campaign season, there is a scene wherein a conspiracy hatched by the opposition to disrupt Captain’s march into politics the opposition, Talli comes back to take the packet of drugs that was lying on the ground to tempt him after having thrown it away once – this scene is something that stands out in the whole film for the powerful impact exerted upon the audience. Pardeep’s flawless expressions that bring to life the true reactions of an addict being tempted back again; his act lends deep insights into the psychology of such a person. And in the very next scene he portrays in silence the new found, uncontrolled joy of an addict coming back to drugs. It is because of this spontaneity of his expression that Pardeep has been able to strike a chord with the audience. Lost in the dreams of going abroad, Dollar Singh (Karamjit Anmol), also brings forth his polished acting skills for playing his character well. Prince K. J. Singh also does well in his role of a simpleton. He seems very near to the character of Shakespearean fool because of his wise words in the scene when he has a tussle with Rana Ranbir. Sonal Minocha had nothing much to contribute. Jonita Doda in the shoes of Captain’s wife also simply acts out with her average performance the part of a woman, who stands by the family in their hours of distress. Gurkiratan and Harry Sharan in their negative shade characters are successful in building up tension in the film. The music and songs of ‘Chak Jawana’ had already mesmerised the audience. Although the songs are fully interwoven into the fabric of the story of the film, yet both the romantic numbers seem to have been inserted with force – though both are sweetly appealing. As director the film has been a maiden attempt of Simarjeet Singh, which was successful to a larger extent but a lot needs to be done to make the story and plot well-structured and effective. The lack of dramatic twists and turns in the plot and scarce shortage of elements that bind the audience is what proves to be the biggest shortcoming. This is what lent to the film a very plain look. In this way Bali Janjua and Manjit Maan have failed to convert a weak story into a good screenplay; especially the clash of ideas between Captain and the Sarpanch has not been developed well in the first part of the film due to which the film seems to have been stretched unnecessarily. Rajesh Vashisht’s dialogues were strictly okay. Art, editing and action is well suited to the story line. The film is a must watch if you want to gain an inisight into the right ways of handling the issue of drug addiction through the class apart acting of Gurdas Maan and other polished theatre artists. But if you go with a bent of mind to watch a movie for entertainment then you’ll be disappointed.
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