- Movie Name:Chehre
- Critics Rating: 2 / 5
- Release Date: August 27, 2021
- Director: Rumi Jaffry
- Genre: Mystery Thriller
Amitabh Bachchan in a courtroom drama with the addition of Emraan Hashmi instantly makes up for an illustrious Bollywood poster. It's only natural to have high expectations with the project. But before you aim too high with Chehre; cautionary warning: Hold your horses. Rumi Jafry directorial might not exactly be able to tame your anticipation.
The plot of Chehre follows a group of four old men from the judiciary -- Amitabh Bachchan, Anu Kapoor, Dhritiman Chatterjee and Raghubir Yadav -- with a penchant for solving crimes. But they have an unusual approach to it. These retired men conduct a 'fictitious' mock trial of the court proceedings to pass their time and execute the guilty. There's a condition to it too, one cannot quit it until the judge has given his judgement. One morning, their monotonous routine brightens up when due to some unforeseen weather state, Emraan Hashmi ends up at their doorstep. After some awkward conversation and drinking sessions, he's lured in to take part in their game.
As Hashmi becomes their 'mulzim', Bachchan takes up the charge of a public prosecutor and Anu Kapoor suits himself as the defence lawyer. Dhritiman Chatterjee becomes their judge and Raghubir Yadav is the executioner. Rhea Chakraborty, on the other hand, is their house help Anna, who's also a brilliant painter.
Going by the premise, Chehre was guaranteed to be a promising thriller with a pinch of drama, after all, it has an impressive cast to its credit too. Although how worn-out, sore and inefficient the story turns out to be is the biggest surprise here. Unappetizingly dull, sadly this thriller cum courtroom drama is neither competent enough to instil adequate tension to make its runtime bearable, nor it is captivating enough to execute any of its twists amazingly or surprisingly (if there were any in the first place). Aside from its very capable cast, all of whom have done many, many great films, there’s hardly anything to make this movie worth your time.
The first half is a stretched conversation of the four men without the slightest hint of confrontation. None of the characters you see on the screen is convincing even in the most trivial situations. The whole setup is kind of bizarre too. Immediately from the inception when Emraan meets Anu on a snow-covered lane of a deserted hill to seemingly establishing a whodunit about a murder mystery is dauntingly dull. There’s not a driblet of suspense in the film, only a series of tedious twists (without a skip button). Even the film’s snowy setting can’t tip off any scheme into the proceedings.
It gets sounder in the second half though. As the supporting cast raises a makeshift courtroom in the living room, one gets that eerie sense of something suspicious ahead. Pulling some cinematic strings, the makers try to entice the audience by proposing the principal crisis from multiple viewpoints, giving their viewers new hints with each replay. At this point, they also try vigorously to pull the film into the genre of a thriller but mystery is categorically not something in Chehre's wheelhouse.
The only saving grace in the film is its star cast. The experience that Bachchan and Kapoor bring to the table is palpable. They seize your attention giving some dramatic depth to the milieu. Even though Emraan has a terribly underwritten role he doesn't disappoint. Rhea and Krstyle D'Souza too manage to grip their scenes and Raghubir forces you to smile during this mess.
The high point in the film is Mr Bachchan's monologue. It reminds you of his powerful performance in the brilliant courtroom drama Pink. Given how proficient he is with his monologues, his 20-minute long speech here is one of the film's high points. It is powerful and brings back painful memories of some horrendous crimes in the country. However, after a few minutes, it feels out-of-context and fails to repeat that Pink moment. The setting of the "game" and the preachy-ness of the film dims it down.
Chehre has noble intentions with a visible motive of making a social commentary on lawlessness, judiciary proceedings and life in general, but it exhausts itself early on. Even a better-than-average cast isn’t sufficient to hold Chehre from tumbling over its faulty storyline. With a stellar star cast and some anticipation with Rhea's appearance in the film, it had the brevity to pull the audience, but what it doesn’t have is a tangible structure to last an hour, let alone a runtime of over 120 minutes.