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Chhoti Si Baat April 20, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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This comedy about the transformation of an introverted middle class guy trying to win over a girl makes a pleasing watch.

Arun (Amol Palekar) is a shy youngster who has a crush on a girl called Prabha (Vidya Sinha) whom he sees at the bus stop regularly. Prabha observes him secretly and enjoys the attention but waits for him to make his next move. His introverted nature, however, doesn’t allow him to take control. A chance visit by Prabha to his office gets the ball rolling and they start meeting more often. However, his happiness is short-lived as Nagesh (Asrani) makes an appearance. Nagesh is a confident youngster who pulls away Prabha from Arun even as Arun starts to open up. Unable to take the heat, Arun seeks the guidance of Colonel Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh (Ashok Kumar), a sort of “love guru”. The Colonel teaches him the tricks of the trade and an improved, confident Arun returns to win back Prabha.

Writer-director Basu Chatterjee does a commendable job. I thoroughly enjoyed his subtle observations about introverted as well as confident guys and the non-conversational interactions between Arun and Prabha. Being an introvert myself, the identification factor was high (and I believe many introverts might feel the same). There were a few places where I felt he should have done better as a director but those can easily be overlooked.

When I first saw this movie, I realised the importance of body language. It fascinated me for a bit and I started observing people carefully to see what I could gather from things other than their words. And I believe that has, from time to time, helped me gauge people.

Amol Palekar comes up with a winning performance and his use of body language is very good. Chatterjee extracts a good performance from him. Vidya Sinha is nothing to rave about. Asrani overacts here and there but he is fine overall. The scene stealer, of course, is Ashok Kumar. It is hard not to be swept away by his performance.

Though there are only three songs in this film, Salil Chowdhary’s score is hard to forget. The evergreen numbers include the breezy Jaaneman Jaaneman (Yesudas, Asha Bhonsle), the melodious Na Jaane Kyon (Lata Mangeshkar) and the introspective Yeh Din Kya Aaye (Mukesh).

This was the first Basu Chatterjee film that I saw. His films have middle-class themes and endearing humor like Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films. I have always wanted to watch more of his films but haven’t been able to. Some of his other notable ventures include Chitchor, Rajnigandha, Khatta Meetha, Shaukeen, Baaton Baaton Mein and Chameli Ki Shaadi.

Watch this film when you are feeling low and it is sure to cheer you up.

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