So where should we start?

What happens when two very endearing actors – and a goat – are cast opposite each other in an otherwise lackluster script?

Unfortunately, Chopsticks happens.

Netflix’s seemingly promising latest Hindi outing starring the lovely Mithila Palkar and hugely underrated Abhay Deol just does not manage to touch a chord even when you really, really want it to.

To put it in short, it is the story of Nirma (Palkar), who is a translator specializing in Mandarin, from the small town of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. She now works in a big consultancy in Mumbai and has just bought her first car – a red i10. The viewers get a glimpse of how she is looked down upon by her bosses because of her comparatively desi, non-accented, not-so-smooth English – and her naivety that is somewhere taken as incompetence. As she struggles to fit in, in the crowded city of dreams, and tries to build up on her confidence, life comes crashing down as her newly-bought car gets stolen. Again because of her naivety. The police doesn’t help, and so she lands up to seek help from nice hearted but eccentric chef-cum-con man Artist (Deol). Does he help her? Does she find her car? Does she also end up finding herself while finding her car? That forms the core of the plot.

But then, here’s where the problem lies. The build up to the actual story, the execution and the resolution too, in the end, all seem so amateur, to a point that you end up zoning out at several portions of the film. The script goes pretty much everywhere and in terms of writing too, there are no real dialogues that stand out. It actually feels that the lead is named Nirma so that Deol could say “Nirma ne sabko dho dala” in the end. The comedy lacks a punch while the drama is too dry. It’s a simple film, yes, but then instead of putting it all in such a linear fashion, director Sachin Yardi (of Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum fame) and the writers could have played around with the dialogues and characters a bit more. The sudden transformation of Nirma’s character, too, doesn’t look natural or organic. It just happens all of a sudden and even though you laud the girl for standing up for herself, the progress feels abrupt.

What works for the film, though, are the three main characters. Oh yes, four. The other two being the talented Vijay Raaz as Faiyaz bhai who is sort of an extension of his Made In Heaven’s Jauhari bhai and his fighter-goat Bahubali (yes, you read that right). While Raaz – now almost typecast as the somewhat good-hearted but strict bhai of the movies – and the goat bring an amount of entertainment to his small role, you can almost feel sparks flying, slowly and steadily, between Deol and Palkar’s characters – a good respite from the running around the film otherwise involves – before, well, it is left out. You have to finish the film in an hour and a half, after all. Palkar and Deol both display a good performance overall, but if only the movie were to be a breezy love story instead. The leads had that kind of chemistry, and backdrop too, you know? But then it wasn’t to be.

It was supposed to be Netflix’s first Indian original, but what it actually turns out to be is disheartening and dull. In the end, when Palkar chooses to eat from her hand instead of the chopsticks, I, too, ironically felt the same. And that is kind of sad. We give it 2 chirps, that too majorly for the performances.


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