Chintu ka Birthday is a film which is about hope. Whatever the trailer or the teaser of the movie promises the audience, it is successful in providing and often gives more. The movie is one that makes you feel warm and fuzzy at heart.
There are very few movies that incorporate the audience into the movie. Chintu ka Birthday is one such movie. The realistic setting of the movie, the believable family, and the hubbub about the birthday party of Chintu. It all comes together and makes a wonderful experience for the audience.
The movie was premiered at the Jagran Film Festival in October of 2019. It won the Viewer’s Choice Award at the Film Festival.
The plot of Chintu ka Birthday is that a Bihari family has shifted to Iraq where the man of the household sells water purifiers. They have been sent there through Nepali passports. All is well and good till US President George W Bush decides to overthrow the rule of Saddam Hussein In Iraq. All goes haywire from here. This is in 2003.
The family gets panicky about returning to their home. The Indian consulate cannot help them because they do not have Indian passports. Now the family is stuck here. Each day is spent in anxiety about when will they leave for their homeland.
A year has passed, we are in 2004 now. It is a very auspicious day as it is Chintu’s birthday today. In one look, the bespectacled, cute, well-combed Chintu (Vedant Raj Chibber) will take away your heart.
Of course, he is excited for his birthday along with his family. Everyone is excited about their birthdays. His family is also extremely excited. This is because they were not able to celebrate his birthday properly the previous year too because of the attacks.
This year, the family of 5 is determined to make Chintu’s birthday a special one.
To make a birthday memorable one for a 6-year old is not that difficult. It is only about a cake and some balloons, new clothes, some toffees to be distributed at school and puri-kheer, right? This is how an average middle-class family in India celebrates birthdays. That is how Chintu wanted his birthday to be.
But the “Amrika waale uncle” has other plans. The family is busy preparing for his birthday, while two American soldiers come to their house. They say that they have come for some routine-checkup.
But they end up finding Chintu’s Mahdi uncle who has been hiding from these soldiers because of his fear of them. These fears are based on his previous gory encounter with them. The soldiers, upon finding him, think of the family as suspicious.
The plans for Chintu’s birthday party rapidly takes a serious turn where the soldiers start searching their house for suspicious things. The man of the house is repeatedly asked to confess his involvement in suspicious activities.
Amidst all of this, the cake which Lakshmi, Chintu’s elder sister was baking for him gets burned and the family does not know what to do now. Still, even in these bleak times, where two American soldiers are in their house and want to detain Madan (Vinay Pathak), the father, the family wants to make Chintu happy.
The movie is a question about whether Chintu will be able to have a happy birthday or not?
Chintu ka Birthday is an average middle-class family’s attempt to fulfill their small dreams in a world that is full of terror, anarchy, suppression, and greed.
The movie comes alive in poignant details. It keeps on moving, neither too slow nor too fast. At a pace that is suitable for the audience to feel that they are a part of the movie.
The screenplay of the movie is such that since the onset of it, you feel a certain sort of attachment with the movie. Whether it is the atmosphere of the Bihari household, or the family, which is identical to so many across India, Chintu ka Birthday makes you move with it.
Halfway, you start anticipating, will Chintu be able to celebrate his birthday or not?
Chintu ka Birthday has dialogues in Hindi, English, and Arabic. This might seem a little confusing, but the screenplay is such that it makes the outcome look so beautiful and wholesome. The movie gives you a feel of what it is like to be an immigrant in a war-ravaged country.
Madan becomes the superhero for Chintu. He takes upon his shoulders the responsibility to make his birthday a genuinely happy one. His optimism is what defies falling bombs, American soldiers, power cuts, and the prospect of losing his freedom to try to keep his son happy.
Madan’s character has been carved meticulously. He is shown to be an ordinary man, leading an ordinary life, but he rises to the occasion when the situation demands.
The writer duo Satyanshu Singh and Devanshu Kumar have managed to build a story which is holistic, and which proves the love of a family. Their excellent writing skills have ensured that the screenplay does not dwell on any frame for a long time. The writer duo has proved that a movie is ought to be successful if it has the right story.
Chintu ka Birthday also uses this unique technique of graphics to show the flashback of the family. The incorporation of cartoon characters in the movie has given it a lovely as well as an artistic touch.
The All India Bakchod (AIB) people, Tanmay Bhatt, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya, have produced this wonderful movie.
The movie very effectively brings out the ravaging effects of war on an ordinary family, stuck in a foreign land.
The denouement of the movie is where you will find your heart to be full, your face with a huge smile, and not saying anything for some time. Chintu ka Birthday leaves you speechless in the actual sense of the word.
The screenplay of Chintu ka Birthday has been designed to hit the right troughs and crests of human emotions. That too, at the right moment. It successfully re-affirms the fact that Chintu can have a successful birthday party even though there are several impediments. The key moments in the movie have been crafted exquisitely by Siddharth Diwan.
Chintu ka Birthday does not have any music as such apart from the song sung by his mother, Sudha (Tilottama Shome), and grandmother (Seema Pahwa). Both Shome and Pahwa have given their actual voices for this scene.
The 80-minutes plus runtime of the movie keeps the audiences with itself. There are spectacular performances from a diverse cast. The strong performances from most of them have managed to create an impact on the audience.
The cinematography is brilliant as it can show the key emotions of the actors even when there are no dialogues being spoken.
The movie also discusses the issue of immigration, nostalgia for the homeland, and the unconditional love a parent for its child.
The directors have attempted to put all these issues in the confines of a single house. All this while seeking to reinforce faith in humanity and the innate desire to live to the fullest, even in dire circumstances.
Among everything, the fulcrum of Chintu ka Birthday remains the constantly wide-eyed, beatific Chintu with his simple birthday wish.
Chintu ka Birthday shows what real happiness looks like, how you can manage to be happy even when everything goes haywire, what hope is all about, and the far-reaching effects of war.