Actor-turned-director Himanshu Malik’s film Chitrakut might have problems, but a misplaced intention is not one of them. It wants to take you to an inward journey despite limited but optimised resources. At one point, it may also look like a neighbourhood scene, devoid of any drama and characters looking absolutely bereft of a clear-cut emotional curve, but this is where Malik’s idea of a secluded place for just love reveals itself to the audience.
There are five characters whose lives are intermingled at several junctures. In fact, them being at cross-roads is the thematic glue rather than their personal stories. They keep falling in and out of love with each other in search of the solace they would probably never have.
Then there are statements on various subjects such as passion, empathy, crime, punishment and natural justice. It’s obvious that these punchlines are coming from Malik himself as characters appear naïve to fully comprehend the seriousness of the situations they’re in.
Though the film begins with a reference to Chitrakut, a mythical place in Central India, it’s set in Mumbai and Goa. Of course, the lives would be in contrast, but thankfully, the makers have avoided the usual tropes of Mumbai. It seems more like suburbs where one can stand beneath a tree and look at the bustling city, or go to a place beyond prying eyes.
Truth be told, it’s really a simple story, which may disappoint the ones looking for turns and twists in usual Bollywood style. But then this is also the strength of Chitrakut, a world where the audience doesn’t need to pretend of being cinema-informed. Just try understanding the pai of being lonely in an alien land. It’s different if nothing else.
Vibhore Mayank, Auritra Ghosh, Naina Trivedi, Kiran Srinivas and Shruti Bapna have led different tracks, and three of these need to be mentioned. Vibhore, Auritra and Kiran should be given more opportunities. They have sailed through complex scenes and raised the stakes. One scene involving Vibhore in which he pushes Naina back upon reuniting is likely to remain with you.
However, Chitrakut is definitely a director’s film, and he has managed to convey his idea of comforting companionship successfully.
Give it a try.
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