Chakki, a social drama starring Rahul Bhat and Priya Bapat and directed by Satish Munda, is unique in its title. The film sheds light on corruption, which is a topic we have seen before in a few films. However, the field and department it chooses to focus on is new except for Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Yami Gautam’s Batti Gul Meter Chalu (2018). The majority of the film Chakki takes places outside of the courtroom, with only a few scenes set in court. These scenes are vastly different from your typical courtroom drama. There have been many social dramas made on corruption, involving politicians, civil officers, police, ministers etc., so logically speaking, there is nothing new in Chakki. The film’s title comes from the grinder-pattern system that it indirectly references.
The story of Chakki revolves around Vijay (Rahul Bhat), a middle-class protagonist who works in a little town as the owner of a flour mill. While monitoring financial results every day, he falls in love with Reema (Priya Bapat) and plans to marry her. When he receives a huge invoiced for his flour mill, his seemingly ideal existence is turned upside down. Vijay runs around in circles to have his bill fixed, falling into a literal loop (chakki) of the government’s typical inefficiency. Unsympathetic, parasitic officials attempting to steal money from him via any means necessary, inefficient bureaucracy, and systematic indolence drive him to take a desperate but illegal action that leads to even more serious legal difficulties jeopardizing his family’s status and future wedding. The manner in which Vijay fights against it using his basic man’s trick is all that Chakki presents.
We live in a world where everything is possible, but we are not sure what the future holds for us. We have all heard stories of people who lost their jobs or were harassed at work because they did not meet the boss’s expectations. People can get away with anything if they follow the rules carefully enough; however, this will lead to them being trapped in a cycle of endless failure and frustration. It’s a never-ending cycle in which you’re constantly moving from one place to the next, then on yet another. You don’t have time to make a living between these periods. Consider how difficult it is. To get honest funds, you must battle corruption; but when you do so, you don’t have enough time to earn that money. Chakki handles all of these frenetic events well, but the script feels as though it has been dragged out.
When it comes to showings, Chakki is all about Rahul Bhat’s dedicated performance. I last saw him in Section 375 (2019) and what a lovely performance he gave there. He maintains his form as well. He has so many wonderful moments on film, and how passionately he performs them are very moving. His irritation, voice tone, and nuances convey a lot. Priya Bapat appears to be a fantastic girlfriend, and she has a few sequences in which to demonstrate her acting ability. There’s a big supporting cast, including Tirth Sharma, Simran Natekar, Alka Amin, Anirudh Khatwad, Neha Bam, Durgesh Kumar, Amit Dudi, Pradeep Nema (and Bhupesh Singh), Aseem Dubey and Mushtaq Khan among others, who’ve all done an excellent job in minor roles.
Chakki starts out strong with social drama, but it falls flat when human drama is introduced. Though the film is only 96 minutes long, the first half feels dragged out and boring. The first 20 minutes are particularly problematic, but once the story gets going before the intermission point, it’s much more enjoyable. The average songs aren’t to blame since there was less scope for music. I would like to ask the dialogue writer about his mediocre vision–why didn’t he go for some hardcore one-liners that would have suited the real outburst of a common man? Additionally, the cinematography could be better. I was truly shocked by Satish Munda. He is a FTII pass out, so he understands what cinema is, and his work with a limited budget is quite remarkable. However, we all know that filmmaking doesn’t just rely on money. The vision of the director can make or break a film. On the other hand, Chakki fails to capitalize on this opportunity. Anyway, it’s an excellent movie with an interesting narrative; however, it could have been better.
Cast: Bharat Ninderwal, Durgesh Kumar, Shrikant Verma, Priya Bapat, Rahul Bhat, Satish Munda