Birthdays are supposed to be a day of everlasting fun, especially for kids. Cakes, candles, balloons and gifts can make any kid go crazy on this special day. Well, Chintu also had the same plans. On his sixth birthday, all he had desired to go to school, share chocolates with friends and celebrate the day with a splendid birthday party in the evening. But fate had something else reserved for him. Oh wait, did I tell you Chintu turned six during the American invasion of Iraq in 2004? Yup, Chintu’s father was one of the many Indian expatriates who were stuck in Iraq and were unable to return to their homelands. On this fateful day, while Chintu’s family was busy for the birthday party, two American soldiers barge into their home, looking for a suspect in a bombing incident. Life goes topsy turvy for Chintu and his family. Whether they get out of it, forms the crux of the matter.

It’s a very refreshing story, told from a six-year-old’s perspective. Without wasting any time, the director and writer duo Devanshu Kumar and Satyanshu Singh set the premise, at the very onset. Using the child’s imagination, we go through the story of how first the water purifier salesman father and then the family landed up in Iraq. Their happy life goes for a toss as the ‘America wale Uncle’ decides to invade Iraq, making their way back home, next to impossible. The writing is watertight and it doesn’t let you off the hook even for a little bit. From the easiness of a loving family celebrating the birthday, the script takes rapid strides as the two American soldiers are introduced into the narrative. The director duo ensures that they do tie the loose ends, which have been introduced at the very beginning. Every aspect of the film is top-notch. 

In the garb of telling a story that runs for approximately ninety minutes, it tries to blend in many things. An unconventional story that brings in a clash in the culture of the central characters, in a very unorthodox manner. An American soldier, who’s been in Iraq for less than 10 days, proclaims that there is nothing civil going on in the war-ravaged country. The fact that his fellow soldier is at ease with the locals, makes him rather uncomfortable. An Iraqi citizen, who’s the landlord of the Indian family, gladly lets them rearrange the room decor for the party, sings a song for the birthday boy, despite the fact that he’s yet to meet his own family for the last thirteen years. Using humour as an effective medium, the makers ensure that you become a part of the family, that just wants to celebrate the birthday, irrespective of the imminent danger lurking over their heads. 

The ensemble cast is fantastic. The splendid Vinay Pathak, the effervescent Tillotama Shome and the ever dependent Seema Pahwa lead the cast, with only seven additional members in the cast. The protagonist Chintu is played by Vedant Chibber who plays his part very well. His elder sister Lakshmi, played by Vibha Chaturvedi is also a talent who needs to be looked after. As it always happens, in the face of adversity, the sister turns into a mother for her little brother. It is unbelievable how Vinay Pathak pulls off the common man with such ease. Tillotama Shome, coming from the roaring success of ‘Sir’, is as always does well. Khalid Massou performs brilliantly as the Iraqi man, on the run. Sanjay Mishra makes a cameo, as the voice of grandfather, calling from India.

In these days of despair, ‘Chintu Ka Birthday’ is a breeze of fresh air. Do watch this film, made with so much love. ‘Chintu Ka Birthday’ now streaming on Zee5 worldwide.

 

The Cinemawala Rating: 4/5

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