Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chellata: I Heart Golden Star Ganesh

It's kind of a dreary day here in Washington, DC, so enjoy some re-posted Sandalwood Reviews!!!

(Not even with me, Golden-Star Ganesh?!)

Chellata, lets Golden-Star Ganesh’s romantic talents shine through! I was favorably reminded of the 1960s mixture of Bollywood comedy-masala (a la Pyaar Kiya Jaa) throughout the film – only much more romantic because unlike Pyaar Kiya Jaa, the lovely Rekha actually had a role in her own romance!

Chellata has an octopus-like plot, spreading story tendrils here and there. We begin with Dynamic Sir, a humble firework salesman. Dynamic Sir has his own Greek Chorus soundtrack refrain that accompanies his dishoom-dishooming (“Dynamic Sir”). Now, Dynamic Sir is not only fair and just, he’s also kind and adopts a young boy into his family. But what happens when this young lad runs onto the field (“Dynamic Sir”) while Dynamic Sir and his employees are blowing up fireworks?! (“Dynamic Sir”) He rushes out and saves the young boy – losing his hand in the process! (“Dynamic Sir”) Thrown into poverty, he still won’t abandon his adopted brother. (“Dynamic Sir”)

That little boy grows up to become GOLDEN-STAR GANESH! Golden-Star Ganesh plays Ganesh, a humble taxi-driver who has just graduated from “engineering school” at the top of his class. Before he can get a fancy job with which to support his family, all hell breaks loose. And here is our first plot-moving obstacle to be solved: Ganesh and Dynamic Sir also have a sister… a sister who has a secret boyfriend who just happens to be the son of the local neighborhood big shot. When the boyfriend is caught sneaking around to visit Ganesh’s sister, Dynamic Sir insists that the Boyfriend and Sister be wed to save her honor.

Well, Big Shot isn’t having any of it – he has just married off two daughters and had to pay 25,000 rupees worth of dowry between them. He’s not letting his son go for less than 5,000 rupees. Of course, humble Dynamic Sir and Ganesh do not have 5,000 rupees. They don’t have 1,000 rupees! Now, 15 minutes into the film, we have our set-up. What follows is complex labyrinth of plots all revolving around money, making fun of the two comic relief guys, and Ganesh’s love story – which also ties into money, because wouldn’t you know, Ganesh falls in love with the daughter of the Big Shot’s boss!

(Let me tell you, Rekha!)

While the production values are not great and the clothes rather blinding at times, Chellata really worked for me. The moral that money does not buy happiness or the respect of your family and community is one that I will always approve of. And even better, the romance between Ganesh and the Boss’s Daughter (played by Rekha) was progressive enough to balance out the traditional relationship.

(Oh, don’t worry! He totally apologizes to girls!)

Golden-Star Ganesh is turning out to be one of my new favorite actors! [note from Future Filmi Girl: WORD!] His character falls in love with Rekha, even as she shows that she is cleverer than him, more wealthy than him, and even taller than him. She, in turn, loves the sensitive and emotional side of him that the other men in her life do not show. Ganesh has morals, ethics, good dance skills! The guy her father wants her to marry is a total wet blanket!

(No, this isn’t Dostana! Who would you pick – the guy on the left or right?)

Rekha’s character is wonderful! She’s a rich girl but she’s never humiliated the way that women are so often (and I’m looking at you Shriman Shrimati) or punished for who she is. She finds Ganesh, pursues him, and then gets to go against her father for trying to manipulate her!

In one of their first scenes that really had me swooning, she tracks him down to get him to do mendhi on her hands!! He’s annoyed but also intrigued! “Who is this aggressive girl?”

Rekha’s father, a businessman of some sort, get his comeuppance was also extremely satisfying. Taking a page right out of Bobby, he thinks the way to get his daughter to do what is wants is to manipulate the situation by lying, insulting, and cheating.

(Not to mention exchanging briefcases full of money with shadowy guys!!!)

In between the epic romance that had me on the edge of my seat came the comic relief. What is a masala film without a comedy subplot?!

I have no idea who these guys are but they were surprisingly hilarious. This review had me all ready to roll my eyes at the super-short big-city wallah from “Mumbai” who “looks like Dharmendra” and the HUGE guy from Dubai (an excuse to play “Arabic” music whenever he came on screen) whose name means bridegroom (as the subtitles helpfully pointed out to explain the jokes) but they were really funny.

Mercifully, the comedy subplot I did find tedious – a new husband whose mother-in-law prevents him from sleeping with his new wife for some unfunny reason – was dropped without explanation about 45 minutes in…

Much like in Mungaru Male, I was impressed with the camera work and composition – like Rekah’s four friends in the back of a taxi!

And the music and picturizations were a lot of fun! Enjoy some classic side-by-side dancing and Udit Narayan in this song from Chellata!


aham said...

I saw this movie recently eventhough this is the 1st movie of Golden Star as a lead actor, he has acted in a lot films as hero's friend or in insignificant roles, I also saw Aramane liked it, saw Circus recently though liked it didnt like the ending,hmmm when you come to India maybe you can buy a lot of DVD's as they cost a hell lot less, but not sure if all of them will have subs in english.

and yeah Chellata is very funny especially Dharmendra and Madhumaga, hehe me and my frnds couldnt stop laughing whenever they were on screen, and Dharmendra is played by Tennis Krishna he is a comedy actor who has acted in hundreds of movies since i guess 1990.

Filmi Girl said...

@aham I haven't seen "Aramane" yet - the DVD with English subtitles just came out so it will be soon!

Thank you for identifying that comedian for me! He was very, very funny for sure!

S said...

Ooh I love this movie! It's one of my favourite Kannada movies. I wanted to slap Rekha's character sometimes in Hudugata but Chellata was JUST. SO. FUNNY. I loved Madumaga and Dharmendra hhaaha and all the ring giving and taking-back.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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