Chopsticks Director: Sachin Yardi Cast: Abhay Deol, Mithila Palkar, Vijay Raaz Rating: ***(2.5/5)
Netflix is billing Chopsticks as its first Indian original film. The ingredients are in place, the leads are a young, timid, working girl in Mumbai who has just bought her first car. A mysterious man who is skilled at both breaking into safes and cooking and likes to be called Artist. A dreaded gangster whose deepest relationship is with Kishore Kumar songs and a goat. Each one of these characters sounds cool enough to deserve their own film
There is a distinction between the two, of course, which also applies to Netflix’s other ‘original’ films, such as the legitimately great “Lust Stories” and “Soni”, and even the affectingly terrible “Brij Mohan Amar Rahe”.
Chopsticks aspires to be like something Dibakar Banerjee might have made in the mid-2000s, but in reality is more like the third film from the director of Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum – which is exactly what it is. During its climactic chase sequence at the CST station, several extras stare directly into the camera, with the befuddled expression of someone who’s just realised they’ve wandered onto a movie set by mistake.
One thing remains the same though—Yardi isn’t one for subtext and subtlety. Take the protagonist’s name, Nirma (Mithila Palkar), for example. It’s like she is set up to be this timid, under confident Maharashtrian girl who listens to confidence-boosting tapes in her brand new car. She believes in numerology, is part of family WhatsApp groups, and when creepy men get too close for comfort, she silently removes herself from the situation rather than confronting them.
Though Chopsticks at a decent run time but could still be tighter and do with better pacing for posterity, maybe by editing out some plot points that don’t get developed, would need a thorough rewrite to be ‘saved’ in any manner. It’s depressing to see them bound to such mediocre material, because both Mithila, and Abhay particularly – he’s starred in some of the best cult classics of the last decade – are very perceptive actors.
The film’s sole laugh, however, can be attributed to Vijay Raaz, who is, as he tends to be, in a different league altogether. Though his gambles haven’t always paid off. Needless to say it’s that new dish you order once to sample, enjoy it, and reorder only if it tickles your taste buds the first time. The humor hits the mark on many occasions, particularly when Nirma’s weirdness is dominating the scene, or Vijay Raaz is doing what he does best with a straight face.
#AbhayDeol #MithilaPalkar #Chopsticks #NeflixOriginal #VijayRaaz #DibakarBanerjee #KyaaSuperCoolHaiHum #LustStories #Soni #BrijMohanAmarRahe