Chippa (Netflix): Very few of our films cast children in the main role. It is a pleasure to see little Sunny Pawar who stole the show from Dev Patel in Lion, roaring again in a small film with a big heart. In Chippa again, young Sunny Pawar is lost in Kolkata. This time the city of joy doesn’t look as irradiant as it did in Lion. The frames are palely lit and the narrative’s texture has a drab feel to it. Also, Sunny playing a street urchin named Chippa meets only kind-hearted people on the deserted night streets of Kolkata.
A ten-year-old boy roaming all alone in Kolkata all night? One trembles at the thought, But writer-director Safdar Rahman is an optimist. He lets his little hero lose in a Kolkata filled with football-playing, drinking, reminiscing Kolkatanas of every age. Our little hero negotiates his way through the languorous labyrinth in search of a father who has sent him a letter in Urdu after ten years of absence.
“Tu Mussalman hai kya?” a drunken potential driver asks Chippa. Wisely the boy doesn’t reply. This street survivor knows when to hold his peace, and when to speak up. When a kindly newspaper hawker takes Chippa home and tells him to go upstairs and meet his wife, the boy improvises his introduction to the lady with a sly compliment. This boy is a charmer trapped in a film that doesn’t match up to his charms.
I looked for more such moments of epiphany in the picaresque plot. This is a story so free of artifice that it doesn’t feel like a film at all. Ten-year-old Sunny Pawar holds the film together as though to the camera born. Playing the little boy in wonderland, Pawar is wise, cocky, innocent and clever all at once. Chippa is worth our time for Pawar’s authoritative performance. The rest of the cast except Chandan Roy Sanyal who comes very late comes and goes without creating any lasting impression. With more meat rather than gravy in the plot Chippa could have what Mira Nair’s Salaam Mumbai was and what Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire could never be.
Broken But Beautiful Season 2 (Zee5): Even if you are a sucker for Mills & Boon mush, this second season is as exhausting as a second helping of an over-sweetened dessert. To bring the broken-hearted couple back is merely an excuse to separate them for as long as possible, while they date other people and exchange sentiments stolen from WhatsApp forwards.
So we have Sameera being speed-wooed by a distant cousin Ahaan whom all of Sameera’s friends (including a gay hairdresser) have a crush on. But Sameera has other plans for her heart. Don’t ask what they are. Okay, here’s a hint: until the end of the season she will be cynical about love until the FS (with the empty coffee cup, so emblematic of the emptiness simmering at the core of this pretty but shallow take on urbane relationships) observes that Sameera no longer needs therapy as she’s gotten over Kartik. Good. But has the series gotten over Sameera trying to flush unrequited love out of her system? Going around in dizzying circles Broken But Beautiful Season 2 is like a love song that has overstayed its welcome.
The dialogues are a facsimile of smartness. “I am glad you’ve changed. But be careful what you change into,” warns Sameera’s dogmatic friend. Going from Season 1 to 2 Broken But Beautiful shows no sign of change.
Image source: IMDb