Movie Review: Chitrakut

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Pune, 26th May 2022: The movie opens with beautiful visuals and the mention of Chitrakut in Central India, the place where Ram and Seeta lived in the initial years of their exile, and found bliss in each other. Briefly. The protagonists find love and fleeting bliss, leading to something more meaningful—their true calling. The film uses metaphors to depict this with honesty.


The film is made delicately and explores the complexity of human choices with finesse. It’s raw and a slow burn, unlike other releases.


We follow the narration of Debu, a junior chef newly dating an upcoming fashion designer Alisha, only to be dumped as she still has feelings for her here-today-gone-tomorrow boyfriend from the merchant navy. Parallel to this, we follow the narration and story of a dancer Saloni and her partner, Shaan, a hot-headed and troubled horse race-fixer who believes in planning the break up to avoid the emotional turmoil and heartache. Debu meets and falls for an old baker friend, Kim and this is where things get a bit bizarre. Kim’s boyfriend Ashwin is a gangster who takes a now unemployed Debu into his squad. Tired of being a pushover, Debu finds addiction in this newfound power. When Shaan refuses to fix a race because it would involve hurting a horse, Debu and the gang are given the job to thrash him up.


As Saloni nurses Shaan back to his feet, he seethes with rage and vengeance. The film stays away from predictable plots, cause just like in our lives, anything can happen. Things go haywire for Shaan, but Saloni’s care and love show him the path of forgiveness and light. Even the five characters’ paths crossing one way or another feels natural, very similar to our lives. The paths that cross and the paths the characters choose help them discover the meaning of love and what life has in store for them.


Auritra Ghosh shines as the girl with a difficult past who finds an outlet in dance, as does Kiran Srinivas as Shaan. Their chemistry on-screen is worth mentioning. Vibhore Mayank shows layers as the simple guy and later gangster.


Actor-turned-director Himanshu Malik (of Anubhav Sinha’s Tum Bin fame) understands the human condition and it’s nuance and does a phenomenal job at portraying it. Arijit Singh’s song and voice only compliment Himanshu’s subtle choices for the film. In the opening sequence, Debu makes a sketch of Alisha with bangs and she is shown sporting this hairstyle in the end when she finds happiness. Or the mirror as a motif to symbolise self-reflection, with the movie starting with a reflection of the trees and the Sun on still waters. The story has also weaved in different forms of art—culinary, baking, fashion, dance, and sketching as self-expression.


This is a mature tale of love and the loss of love with a fantastic cast and serves as a great debut for Himanshu Malik as described by Majid Majidi.