Chopsticks – A Tale of a Missing Storyline

Chopsticks: The overview

Chopsticks is a film, I was waiting for from the moment its trailer was out. The reasons were the starry cast and what seemed like an interesting story. But was it worth the wait?

Like every film, Chopsticks too, has its good and bad.

Mithila Palkar Chopsticks
Mithila Palkar in a still from Chopsticks

The Storyline

The storyline of the film is directionless and flows without a reason. The plot, however, is initially interesting as we are introduced to Nirma, the best part of the film, and her red car which goes missing and is also a character in itself as the film progresses.

There are some really good, intense dialogues and some are funny too. A few scenes are applaudable, like the one scene where the road is jammed due to a politician celebrating his win which ends with him and the others standing for the National Anthem. But these scenes do no favour to the story – the good ones are mostly irrelevant.

The Actors

Film review Chopsticks Netflix
A still from the film Chopsticks

One thing that floats the boat is the actors, especially Mithila Palkar playing a shy, low on self-confidence, nearly anxious Nirma, who is made fun of by many, not just for her name. Nirma is real and relatable. She is innocent but doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind, even if politely. Palkar has visibly worked a lot on her character – from learning a foreign language to expressing her fear and diffidence physically. Hers is also the only character written with layers and depth required for the film to be ‘quirky and off-beat’ as the film suggests itself to be.

Chopsticks film review
Abhay Deol in Chopsticks

Abhay Deol’s character is more like an imagination of the writer – a man who lives in a half-constructed building but has a fully furnished kitchen where he masters his art. The character has a name and it’s ‘Artist’. He is a thief but doesn’t think of himself. He is mysterious and does not come with a backstory. But all this mystery doesn’t do his character any good. It lacks depth and logic. But Deol indeed plays whatever he’s been offered well.

Chopsticks film review
A still from the movie Chopsticks

Vijay Raaz plays a goon again, this time with an unexplained obsession with his goat ‘Bahubali’.

The goon listens to Kishore Kumar and believes in avoiding “Mutton” at his goat’s birthday. Bollywood has had enough of the edgy goons, and it’s high time we write better roles for Raaz because he’s clearly nailing whatever comes his way.

The Futility and The Obviousness

Another disappointment was the unnecessary and forced romantic angle to Nirma and Artist’s equation. A romantic track plays in one of the scenes but there isn’t any build up to that either. The ending of the film leaves the viewer wondering if at all they needed that track or the romantic angle at all.

The ending is also heavily inspired by the typical Bollywood happy ending formula. The entire film tries to show the reality of life and the dark side of the city but fails to. The film ends up stating the obvious – a change of heart and all smiles as the movie ends.

Chopsticks could have been a beautiful short film, doing away with some futile sub plots. But nevertheless, it proves to us how capable Mithila Palkar is as an actor and how much more she deserves.

The title of the film could refer to everything that goes wrong in Nirma’s life as she fails to understand how to get hold of a few things, just like she fails to get hold of the food using the chopsticks. However, in the end, she finds a way out and it’s subtly beautiful, but the film still fails to get hold of its plot and themes.

Pranjal Asha
Pranjal Asha

Pranjal loves to photograph & likes to believe she is in the 80s. Her special qualities include praising A.R. Rahman & Amol Palekar 24x7.

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