Genre: Social Drama
What Is the Story About?
Guddu (Lydian Nadhaswaram) is a poor, motherless kid with an inherent talent for music. He’s nothing short of a musical prodigy. He finds music in everything, even in the mundane things around him. His drunkard father Vishnu (Amitriyaan) lives off his meagre earnings as an errand boy at a tea-seller’s. But Guddu has big dreams nestling within his small world – he wants to enrol at a renowned music school in Jhansi and become a percussionist. His love for music leads him to form a band of sorts with three street kids – Madhav (Yash Rane), Chhuttan (Sachin Chaudhary) and Mithi (Tamanna Dipak). They name their street band – Atkan Chatkan. Fate works its magic to bring him closer to his dreams and face to face with his estranged mother, Mohini (Spruha Joshi).
All four child actors in Atkan Chatkan have performed commendably. They singlehandedly elevate the movie with their assured and natural performances. Courtesy of being music maestro AR Rahman’s protégé, Lydian Nadhaswaram is flawless as Guddu. He’s a real life musical prodigy, thus playing one on screen is child’s play for him. Yash Rane catches the eye as Madhav. He’s got an endearing earnestness about him. Sanjay Chaudhary and Tamanna Dipak are also bang on with the expressions and mannerisms of being beggar kids turned musicians. The grownups in the cast of Atkan Chatkan are no match for the youngsters. Spruha Joshi and Amitriyaan render one-note portrayals of an estranged ex-musical couple. Jagdish Rajpurohit has given a clinical performance as the principal of the music school.
Atkan Chatkan is a film that wants to soar, but its flight is weighed down by the heavy use of tropes by writer-director Shiv Hare. Presented by A R Rahman, and music by the legendary Drums Sivamani are a good thing going for Atkan Chatkan. The entire movie is narrated in flashback. The plot is obviously inspired by the percussion junk band called ‘Dharavi Rocks’, run by a bunch of teenagers living in Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi. The bunch made headlines a couple of years ago, for creating brilliant music entirely out of junk — drum barrels, plastic bottles, paint cans, metal lids, sticks, etc.
Guddu and his friends do likewise in the film. The junk is procured from a scrap-dealer who employs Guddu for a short time. The premise is fascinating, with the potential to be another Gully Boy. But Atkan Chatkan squanders it with its liberal usage of tropes. The movie is crammed with every trope there is – drunkard father, MIA mother, a begging racket led by a heartless gang leader, upper-class kids bullying the lower-class foursome, a musical competition punctuated with a last-minute hurdle that our star kid overcomes with a rousing performance, and more….many more. Atkan Chatkan is a veritable text book on done and dusted Hindi film tropes. The musical competition could have been the centerpiece of the movie. But it is marred by a bizarre incident concerning Madhav – what the need was for it, only the writer of the movie knows. More than half of the movie’s run time is taken up by Guddu’s travails – his helplessness in the face of lack of money, taking care of his baby sister, no food at home, his hunt for a job, being harried by a mean bunch that promises him employment and then reneges, so on and so forth – we said the plot is riddled with tropes, so there! The music is almost an afterthought for writer-director Shiv Hare. Though whenever it appears, it is eminently ear-worthy. All of the musical setpieces, especially in the finale, are terrific. Atkan Chatkan had potential, but unlike its primary protagonist, it fails to come good on that potential. Net result – the movie turns out to be a damp squib that neither inspires nor uplifts. Music and Other Departments? The music of Atkan Chatkan is certainly very good. With the legendary percussionist Drums Sivamani doing the honors, it is quite apparent that it has to be a plus for the movie. The final Nar Ho number, sung by Uthara Unnikrishnan, is easily the best of the lot. As is the Daata Shakti De number. Amitabh Bachchan’s powerful baritone uplifts the song to inspiring proportions. The cinematography, by Subhransu Das, is average. The sound design by Baylon Fonseca is not as great as one would expect of a movie whose sole focus is on sound. Highlights? The performances of the child actors The music
Music and Other Departments
The music of Atkan Chatkan is certainly very good. With the legendary percussionist Drums Sivamani doing the honors, it is quite apparent that it has to be a plus for the movie. The final Nar Ho number, sung by Uthara Unnikrishnan, is easily the best of the lot. As is the Daata Shakti De number. Amitabh Bachchan’s powerful baritone uplifts the song to inspiring proportions. The cinematography, by Subhransu Das, is average. The sound design by Baylon Fonseca is not as great as one would expect of a movie whose sole focus is on sound. Highlights? The performances of the child actors The music
Did I Enjoy It? It is strictly OK Will You Recommend It? Watch only if you have nothing better to do