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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Chaal Jeevi Laiye Movie Review: Proves that Gujarati Cinema is Beyond Garba

Chaal Jeevi Laiye is a 2019 Gujarati language comedy-drama road film written and directed by Vipul Mehta.

In his quest to become a successful entrepreneur, Aditya Parikh (Yash Soni) puts life on the back burner, including his father Bipin Chandra Parikh (Siddharth Randeria) who has been diagnosed with pontine glioma.

Aditya agrees to take his father to Uttarakhand to fulfil his last wishes where they accidentally meet a backpacker named Ketki Mehta (Aarohi Patel).

The journey turns out to be an experience with surprises and realisations of their way to happiness and closeness.

Rises Above Being Just ‘Regional Cinema’

As a Bollywood enthusiast, I feel the movie has a very strong Rajkumar Hirani feel to the film and the banter/dynamic between the parent and child reminds me of 102 Not Out/Piku and I mean this in a good way.

Though there is a strong Hindi cinema feel to the film, which makes it very easier for the general Indian audience to enjoy and relate to it.

Moreover, the story itself is quite unique.

Despite it being a self-discovery story in the backdrop of a father-son relationship, it is one which strikes a chord with the audience.

However, the most brilliant aspect of Chaal Jeevi Laiye is that it is not solely restricted to that platform a regional movie.

In fact, other films have already broken glass ceilings of being in the Gujarati language.

For example, Wrong Side Raju is one movie that united regional and mainstream styles together due to rich content and people like Anurag Kashyap coming on board.

This can be said about Chaal Jeevi Laiye as the movie’s concept is one which all of us can resonate with, regardless of what language we speak.

There are an Aditya and Bipin that resides in all of us and after watching the movie, we will want to just embrace our fathers and spend more time with them.

Breaks Stereotypes Regarding Gujarati Culture

Given that this is the first Gujarati road-trip film, this is one venture which breaks all other cultural stereotypes.

It (the film) showcases that there is a lot more to Gujarati culture than just plain ‘dandiya’ and ‘garba’ per se.

There are tongue-in-cheek dialogues which in turn mock these stereotypes and it is quite satirical.

The speech is also quite progressive… One such humorous dialogue is about homosexuality where Ketki asks Aditya where he is “Aadmi Hoon, Aadmi Se Pyaar Karta Hoon?”

It is so refreshing to see that such lines are not condescending towards the LGBTQ+ community for the sake of ‘comedy’.

As such, the humour itself is so natural and comes across organically.

I cannot help but admire the amazing writing.

There are so many relevant and philosophical dialogues which compel us to enjoy life and forget all our sadness/miseries.

A memorable and poignant line is: “Life teaches us ‘sa re ga ma’ (musical notes) and us humans live life as ‘Sare gam’ (all the sadness)”.

Plus, it is advised that you keep tissues with you as you WILL need it!

Vipul Mehta captures picturesque views and natural surroundings. The film encompasses Garhwali culture in a subtle and fabulous way.

One also cannot help but admire the cinematic shots.

For instance, Bipin and Aditya are seated on a rock stuck inside a hill and the rotating camera-work that occurs during this sequence is par excellence.

Great Performances

There are some great performances.

To begin with, Siddharth Randeria is dynamite as Bipin. His filminess and fearless zest for life strongly hold the film together.

Furthermore, Siddharth knows how to balance the emotional quotients with the comedy and that is the sign of a seasoned actor.

Yash Soni is good as Aditya – the workaholic and ambitious businessman.

Throughout the film, we see a neat transition in his character and he does justice to his role… Though improvements on his emotional delivery would work wonders for him as an actor.

The synergy between both Siddharth and Yash is excellent and they fully convince the audience that they are father and son.

Aarohi is another fabulous actor.

Her vivacious demeanour and optimistic outlook of life also enhance the movie’s atmosphere.

Aruna Irani makes a guest appearance in the movie and she does well in her part as Dr Wadia.

What’s Bad?

Undoubtedly, there are many great attributes to the film, but there are also a few improvements.

The movie makes a point about how a single father raises his child, which is quite an interesting area to explore this could’ve been developed a bit more.

In addition, the story seems to drag a little bit in the second-half.

It seems more dragged out and the story doesn’t really progress much – but having said that, I didn’t get bored.

Overall, Chaal Jeevi Laiye is one of the finest films to evolve from Gujarati cinema.

It carries a very resonant message about living life without inhibitions and the parent-child relationship will strike a chord with audiences across the globe.

Please go watch and support this film because it’s a gem.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars).

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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