Chitkabrey—the Review

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The industry may have been looking forward to “Ra-One” or “Rockstar” or “Ready” but for me, a fan of avant-garde Hindi cinema (the technical term used in this context is avant-gaand-de), “Chitkabrey–Shades of Grey” (to give it it’s full appellation) was the movie of the year.

First of all, there was immense controversy leading up to its release , controversy of the type that almost accompanies great works of art like “Citizen Kane” and “Chingari, the first famous for giving us deep focus and low angle shots and the second the popular phrase “manoranjak kutiya”.

One of the heroines, Akshara Gowda, after whom the famous Gowda cheese is named, sued the movie director (or threatened to) for leaking some of her “artistically necessary” topless shots (30 minutes of footage) for aesthetic promotional purpose. And then Ravi Kishen, the Bhojpuri Amitabh, also threatened to sue the movie producer for reasons one could scarcely believe.

I’m much better endowed than the picture suggests,” lashes out an angry Ravi Kishan whose nude act pictures from a non-descript film Chitkabrey has been circulated in the media.

Claiming that this is nothing but a publicity stunt by the film’s producer, the angry actor says, “If I go nude, my hands would not be able to protect my modesty. There’s clearly some hankypanky here.

In other words, Ravi Kishen was accusing the film director of doing what Hitch-Cock had once endorsed, of using the camera to make a banana look like a nut. If what Mr. Kishen was saying is true, and we have no reason to doubt that his hands have insufficient span to cover his organwa, then what the producers had done to him was act of great mental cruelty. [Not-safe-for-work-or-for-sanity picture here]

Which truly is what “Chitkabrey” is about. Mental cruelty. Ravi Kishen plays Rakesh Choubey, a Bramhin with a choti, who comes to college and gets mercilessly ragged by a group of cruel seniors, a surprisingly diverse group—a Gujrati, a Bengali (named Buddha), a Muslim, a Christian, a Sikh, a good guy, a Tamil, a porn-star and a woman with big “balls” (she likes to bring attention to the fact). As the final act of their barbarity, they make Choubey strip nude, gawk at his organ and tie balloons to his choti. If that was not enough, then they snip it off. The choti that is, not the other thing.

Now once this happens, two things can result. If you are Aamir Khan, you deliver a baby in college, take out a hundred patents and sing “All is Well”. If you are not, you wake up at night screaming “Mujhe nanga mat kijiye” while your mother consoles you “Koi tumhe nanga nahee karega”.  Rakesh Chowbey is not Aamir Khan of course. So he waits, fifteen years for his revenge, mysteriously calling his seniors for a party, in the manner of “U N Owen” of “And Then There Were None”. Once his seniors arrive, the doors are closed, a weird waiter with a gun waltzes about, bullets fly and a dangerous game begins as each of the guests are forced to confess their deepest secrets.

And what earth-shattering secrets they are. One, who leaves his ear-ring (yes you read that right, his ear-ring) as a souvenir after screwing his friend’s wife, acknowledges his duplicity by screaming “Haan mera Chinese chehra bhi hai” . Another confesses to having killed his pet pussy cat named Pedro before screaming “This is frickin scary” in a girlie, Gujju-accented way. And yet another accepts that once his foreign boss, obviously homosexual, started kissing him in office (since apparently in Western countries, such things are common) after which he, in order to get a promotion, ended up with said boss in the shower (a tastefully shot scene of man-on-man love in shower, done in the supremely erotic “Jal jal ke dhuaan” song-style with shades of gay), thus breaking his marital vows. The wife of one is made to fellate an ice-cream bar. The Tamil dude, who has married an American, speaks in a hybrid Tam-Wisconsin accent and has a fetish of watching his American wife do other men in front of him (a directorial nod to Polanski’s “Bitter Moon”), accepts he used to sell drugs in college and had embroiled the Bong friend in a rape scandal. The Bengali Buddha guy, scared by the state of West Bengal and his rigidly honorable wife, wants to emigrate to Bahamas.  The Sardarji, who has a propensity for fondling his secretary, aah the worst is left for him, in every way.

And through it all, Rakesh Chowbey laughs maniacally, rolls his eyes and screams Sanskiritzed Zen sayings: “Shaadi hai samajeek pashu…na samajeek ban paya na pashu ban paya.” Profound.

“Chitkabarey–Shades of Grey” is purely a director’s movie. He not only pushes the envelope but throws it away straight out of the window. “Chitkabarey” has fully realized Sardarji sex—and just that in itself makes it historic. But add to it the culling elements from Literotica and Savita Bhabhi (an actress who plays Savita Bhabhi in a web-comedy-show has a role there), the clever hat-tips to “Three Idiots”, Polanski and Gunda (one of the characters is called Shankar), the crafting of supremely poetic lines like when a lusty real-estate agent admires a woman with a 3D compliment ” Sab kuch perfect hai…unchai, golai aur (pause and significant stare) gaherayee” and the underlying subversive commentary on class, sexuality, the fabric of marriage and the nature of firangis that one realizes  the magnitude of the director’s vision and originality.

Mental cruelty. To repeat, that is what “Chitkabarey—Shades of Gray” is about. Which is what makes it epic. Epic.

 

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26 thoughts on “Chitkabrey—the Review

  1. Wow !! great review GB 🙂 Loved the Sardarji in the movie and the expression of that guy when hw was asking the girl to blow the pencil .

    EPIC.

  2. Haven’t watched this one. But did watch Murder 2 and what a film that was! Anyway i keep saying Ravi Kissan has tremendous potential. Mahesh Bhatt has to find him. That’s all.

  3. Awesome post ! Please write more articles like theses. Extremely entertaining.
    I really want to watch this now. from your review seems like this movie has raised the bar for Indian cinema (the bar was set pretty high by Gunda).

  4. arre baap!!.. Awesome review. But cant watch it. Not even ‘this’ can convince me to watch this movie. And the thought of looking at any nude part of ravi kissan… *runs away screaming in horror*

  5. As it is often said and observed in a competitive world that the performance doesn’t improve overnight, but if you stick to the basics you can turn around things. Many times it begins with a small win. This could be the small win for DB same as the England team had for a Twenty20 match against Aussies just before the start of the Ashes in 2005, which led the English side to a famous win.

  6. hilarious review.
    with 750 ml of sake in my blood, perhaps I am making a wrong statement but you were born to bring out the desi snake out of the snake-skin. pichhe se angutha daal-ke. rest of your aspirations to reach Hemingway and Kapote?
    Doesn’t matter. IMHO.

  7. Arnab and friends,

    All is not lost. Ol’ Man River Gandevta, Bupen Hazarika is now immortal. Isn’t it wonderful when the awful assaults us, the works Bhupenda enlighten us?

  8. Arnabda,

    Why is that people who are first to comment always ask for ipod or iphone?
    I have noticed this from quite some time now and almost all posts I read has this type of comments?
    is this some sort of contest?or you have promised it in your previous post?

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