CHEHRE is a well-made film which rests on a unique plot and bravura performances.

Facial Review {3.0/5} and Review Rating

CHEHRE is the story of a man who faces a tough time dealing with retired law professionals. Sameer Mehra (Emraan Hashmi) is the head of an ad agency named Paradoy. He goes to a hill station somewhere in the north for an ad shoot. But due to a work commitment in Delhi, he leaves the hill town despite heavy snowfall. On the way, he goes to Delhi by a short cut but gets stuck due to a falling tree. On top of this his car suddenly breaks down. He then meets Paramjit Singh Bhullar (Annu Kapoor), who advises him to join him at a friend’s place until it is safe to go. Paramjeet takes her to the house of Jagdish Acharya (Dhritiman Chatterjee) where Hariya Jatav (Raghubir Yadav) is already present. Soon, Latif Zaidi (Amitabh Bachchan) also joins them. The quartet then tells Sameer that they meet everyday and play a unique game. As part of this game, they take a mock test as they are all retired law professionals. Jagdish Acharya was a retired judge in the nearby court, Paramjeet was the defense lawyer and Latif was the chief prosecutor. They invite Sameer to play this game. Sameer agrees. The quartet tells him that he will be the accused in their court. Paramjeet will defend him while Latif will try to prove that he is guilty. Meanwhile, Jagdish will be the judge. Latif gives Sameer a chance to confess if he has ever committed any crime and leaves him and runs away. Then they will try him for that charge. Sameer, however, confidently states that he has never committed any crime. Latif gets a chance to prosecute him for the crime he wants. During their conversation, Sameer said that he hated his former boss, GS Oswal (Sameer Soni) because he was a tyrant. Sameer also revealed that Oswal died recently and took over his post. On this Latif decided to present Oswal in his court for ‘murder’. Sameer is shocked and clarifies that he has not killed her. But Latif tells the court that he is willing to put his legal reputation at stake and will never play the game again if he fails to prove that Sameer was not part of Oswal’s ‘murder’. Sameer is a bit apprehensive but then he realizes that he need not worry as it is just a game. But his worries are immediately dispelled when he learns that Hariya Jatav was not a lawyer or a judge. He was actually a hangman and has kept the noose ready, should the accused be proved guilty in their court! What happens next forms the rest of the film.

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The story of Ranjit Kapoor is inspired by the acclaimed novel ‘A Dangerous Game’ by Swiss author Friedrich Durenmatt and is very interesting and unique. The screenplay by Ranjit Kapoor and Rumi Jaffrey is effective for most of the parts, especially in the first half. But the writing gets loose in the second half, especially towards the pre-climax. The dialogues of Ranjit Kapoor and Rumi Jaffrey are sharp at many places. However, the 13-minute long monologue fails to make the desired impact and should have been shorter and had the required punch.

Rumi Jaffrey’s direction is impressive. For a director who has done light-hearted entertainment to direct a thriller in the past, that is commendable. It is a challenging film as it is mostly set in a house. But he introduces the characters and their traits very well. The way he takes Sameer into confidence, it is commendable. In fact, there is no complaint in the first half because the way it creates tension creates a thrilling experience. There is a problem in the second half because it seems to be dragging. Also, the climax should have been better and nail-biting. The monologue spoils the story as well. Amitabh Bachchan had rocked the show in the past with the ‘No Means No’ dialogue in Pink. [2016], It was smaller and far more impressive. Something on those lines was needed here but sadly the monologue never ends and even gets out of track. The other problem with the film is that it is quite dialogue-heavy. The makers have tried their best to reduce the drama and tension wherever possible. But still, the audience doesn’t get used to this kind of story and setting. Therefore, this kind of subject matter is experimental and will appeal mostly to urban and niche audiences.

CHEHRE starts on a great note. Amitabh Bachchan’s entry is worth clapping. The exchange of dialogues here is very smooth and reassuring. The way Latif manages to conclude that Sameer is a criminal, through the power of his observation and experience of asking the right questions, keeps him interested. The timeout point is shocking. The second half begins with an interesting turn. Sameer and Natasha’s (Krystal D’Souza) flashback is refreshing as it gives the audience a break from the four walls of the mansion where the film is set. Initially, it is captivating but at the end of the flashbacks, the film becomes predictable. The twist in the final scene of the film is quite impressive and helps to end the film on a good note.

Talking about acting, Amitabh Bachchan is as excellent as ever and suits the role. His dialogue-delivery is obviously admirable, but he’s pretty impressive in scenes where he’s just watching and planning his next wise move. Emraan Hashmi is the surprise of this film. He has always been a great performer but here, he steals the show and stands in front of the legendary actors. Also, he looks quite dashing as well. Annu Kapoor is as dependable as ever and it’s weird how he pronounces certain words and words. Dhritiman Chatterjee’s dialogues are limited but leave a mark. Raghubir Yadav has a unique look and adds to the madness, especially at the intermission point. Krystle D’Souza is another surprise of the film. Rhea is an important part of Chakraborty (Anna) and in the beginning, she looks a bit sarcastic. But then it becomes clear that his character is a bit mentally unstable. She is memorable in two scenes – one, where she nearly stabs Imran, and two, when Imran asks her for the keys. Siddhant Kapoor (Joe) has no dialogue but speaks with his eyes. Sameer Soni looks dull while Alex O’Neal (Richard) finds no room.

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There are only 2 songs in the film. Title track fails to impress ‘Rang Dariya’ worth forgetting. Clinton Cerejo’s background score is subtle but interesting. Binod Pradhan’s cinematography is superb. This type of theme can lead people to think they are watching a play on stage. But thanks to the lensman and the way he has taken the shots, it doesn’t seem like it. Priya Suhas’s production design also deserves brownie points for giving the film a cinematic feel. Shivam Vikram Kapoor’s costumes are realistic as well as attractive. Redefin’s VFX is good in many scenes but weak in the climax. Bodhaditya Banerjee’s editing should have been tight in the second half.

Overall, CHEHRE is a well-made film that boasts of a unique plot and brilliant acting. However, due to the lengthy second half and experimental nature of the subject, the film will primarily appeal to multiplex audiences.

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Hey, My name is Sunil, I live inside Rajasthan in India and I am blogging from last 2 years. I hope you like my website.

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