Tisca Chopra kills it in ‘Chhuri’ (Movie Review, Rating ***)

By Subhash K Jha
Film: ‘Chhuri'(Short Film); Director: Mansi Jain; Starring: Tisca Chopra, Anurag Kashyap, Surveen Chawla; Rating: ***

After the tangy Chutney it is the teekhi Chhuri for the very talented Tisca Chopra. Seeing “Chhuri”, I can’t help wondering about this hugely accomplished actress’ preoccupation with adultery. In both the short films that Tisca Chopra has produced she plays a vengeful housewife who takes unexpected revenge on her husband’s mistress.

In “Chutney” the location was a dusty off-Delhi North Indian town. In “Chhuri” the milieu–metropolitan Mumbai is far more accessible and identifiable as a place where extra-marital relationships just happen. The strikingly-shot film opens with the morning-time bustle of an upper middleclass highrise apartment. The juice in the blender, the sizzling omelette in the pan, kids eating, squabbling and getting ready for a Sunday with the family.

Quickly director Mansi Jain, much appreciative of the economy of expression required of her, introduces us to the man of the house, played with inexplicable smugness by Anurag Kashyap. We see Kashyap peeping into his phone with a leery impishness. Yes , that’s right. He is having an extra-marital affair.

“How can you take this so lightly, you’re hopeless,” the daughter excoriates her mother, the woman of the house.

Just think. If Shabana Azmi in “Arth” had a daughter, and a sense of humour, wouldn’t the narrative of her husband’s affair been radically different. Tisca Chopra invests no tears in the cheated wife’s role? Rather she takes the horny bull by his horns and shakes up the Other Woman’s sexy citadel by blabbering of domestic obligations .

Not that the Other Woman feels any guilt. She is just annoyed when the wife suggests that they come to an understanding on how to share the unfaithful husband(who hides in the mistress’ cupboard while the two women negotiate).

It’s a hilarious take on adultery done with flair and flamboyance . Tisca delivers her Cheated Wife’s diatribe with such confidence, she almost makes adultery look like a silly game. Poor Surveen Chawla, typecast as a Seductive Siren tries to have fun smooching and cuddling with Kashyap.

Oh, didn’t I tell you? Anurag Kashyap gets to do all the touch-feely stuff with Ms Chawla. His achche din are upon him,I am sure.For some strange reason he keeps thrusting his bare legs into the camera every time he is seated. Then Surveen too joins him with her legs up on the table.

Maybe Tisca and her capable director are trying to tell us that these two ill-behaved people deserve one another.

Suffice it to say that the denouement of the adulterous dilemma is way too simple to be taken seriously. The light-hearted approach to a domestic crisis is made palatable and appealing by Tisca Chopra’s tearless hardheaded performance.At one point she is shown determinedly climbing up many flights of stairs to her Soutan’s apartment while she, the Wanton Woman, is seem getting intimate with the husband.

The Wronged Wife never seemed more empowered.


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