This Marathi movie called Chumbak that's streaming on SonyLIV misses out on the right kind of emotion.
Regional movies seem to capture that charm and beat that most commercial movies tend to miss because they target everybody. And when OTT platforms decide to give regional movies a platform, they become more than just movies for a specific audience. But if regional cinema is reaching out to a wider audience, should it comprise on its artistic value in order to be understood by all? Maybe that's what happened with Chumbak on SonyLIV, a Marathi film that tries to tell a sweet coming-of-age tale but gets all messy because it can't hold on to the right emotion that is needed for the film.
We have a 15-year old Baalu (Sahil Jadhav) who is working as a waiter in a restaurant and dreams of opening up a juice corner near the bus stand in his village. But in order to have enough money to get the place, he puts his money in an investment scheme with the help of his older friend, Disco (Sangram Desai) which turns out to be a scam. Disco and Baalu hatch a plan to con people into winning a lottery of 1 crore provided they invest Rs. 20,000 first. But the only person who gets entangled in this childish plan or their version of a con is Prasanna (Swanand Kirkire) who is more childish than Baalu since he's “a bit slow in the head.” That's when the journey begins and Prasanna and Baalu get attached to each other and so do their fates aka Chumbak.
Helmed by Sandeep Modi, this film has its moments and captures the essence of coming from a broken and poor home. The way it has been shot and follows its lead through the whole journey is pretty nice. The conditions in which these kids have to live is what makes them grow up quite early so much so that they lose their innocence. Yet we're unable to fully connect with the story and its characters since the right kind of emotion that's needed to drive this movie seems to be missing from the film. We get that Baalu's father left them so he came to Mumbai leaving his village to struggle for every penny so that one day he could fulfill his dream of opening up a juice corner in his village but the dreaminess of it all isn't that powerful to connect us with him. Later on in the film, he's frustrated since every door seems to be closing in upon him you feel bad for him but nothing more than that.
As for Prasanna's character, he's a constant reminder of the innocence that's missing in Baalu. He's sweet at the start but goes on to become a little messy by the end. With his innocent antics, he represents the plight and struggle of those who are a tad bit slow but it isn't too strongly depicted. But Swanand Kirkire's and Sangram Desai's acting is the charm of the film! The movie is well-intentioned and made with good effort that captures the essence of the struggle of most poor young adults who struggle to make a living and whose dreams cost them almost everything but this movie doesn't go beyond telling the problem, it doesn't make you feel. Behind every poncy scheme and every person who gets tangled in that scheme, there might be a level of desperation and need. But this coming-of-age film misses out on an opportunity to make us feel a relevant and realistic issue. The intent and emotions are there but it lacks drive.
Have you watched Chumbak on SonyLIV? Do tell us about your thoughts on the film in the comments below!
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