20-26 October 2017 #880

Chhakka Panja 2

The film relies on overused one-liners and a well-known star-cast

Depa Shree Niraula’s second venture as a director, like the first ‘Chhakka Panja’, takes up the issue of the brain drain caused by youth going abroad. While the characters in the first movie strived to go to the Middle East to earn a living, the youngsters in the second one are looking to build stable lives in Australia.

Although the makers establish that the storyline of the sequel has nothing to do with the first one, one can’t help but draw parallels because of the overlapping theme and trajectories of the two movies. The main cast remains mostly unchanged with just a few new faces added to the franchise.

‘Chhakka Panja 2’ introduces viewers to three friends in an unidentified village: Prajwol (Swaroop Dhakal), Saraswati (Jitu Nepal) and Gaurav (Gaurav Pahari), each with their own dreams and aspirations. Gaurav has returned to the village from the US to get married, Prajwol dreams of going to Australia to earn money and Saraswati wants to become a government officer so he can get married to the girl he likes. While Gaurav returns to the States after overhearing a conversation between his soon-to-be wife and her lover, the two other friends make their way to Kathmandu to fulfil their dreams.

In the capital, Prajwol and Saraswati meet a pair of friends: Akansha (Swastima Khadka) and Brinda (Barsha Raut). Akansha wants to go to Australia to study but is held back after getting low scores in the IELTS. With the help of Consultancy mama (Kedar Ghimire), Akansha and Prajwol enter into a paper marriage. What follows is a dragging plot and lukewarm acting.

The first half of the movie survives on over-the-top one liners that keep the audience sufficiently entertained, but the film loses its way completely in the second half. Watching Priyanka Karki play the mother of a 20-year-old is cringe worthy. Her character often comes off as preachy, embarking on long rants about why youngsters should opt out of going abroad. But throughout the entire movie, the makers fail to establish why she is so against the idea. Neither the long recap of her life before she got married nor her confrontations with her daughter give the audience any clue.

Watching the movie, one can’t help but think that the makers bit off more than they could chew with this one. A tighter script and more attention to character development would have assured a better watch. The only saving grace for ‘Chhakka Panja 2’ is its cinematography, which beautifully captures the settings throughout the film.

All in all much like the first one, ‘Chhakka Panja 2’ is a collection of tried and tested jokes that are no longer funny.

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