The film might get some giggles from kids, but only eye rolls from adults.
When family-friendly movies are made, one should consider kids and adults with developed brain cells as part of the audience. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Amazon Prime Video’s latest offering, Hello Charlie. Directed by Pankaj Saraswat, the film starring Aadar Jain, Jackie Shroff and Elnaaz Norouzi, tries to go for old-school comedy, ultimately coming out as outdated and unfunny.
We have a simpleton Chirag Rastogi aka Charlie, played by Aadar Jain and a billionaire fraudster MD Makwana played by Jackie Shroff. Their paths cross when the former comes to Mumbai to make a living and pay off his late father’s debt, while the latter tries to dodge the cops and flee the country. How does he do that? His arm-candy girlfriend, essayed by Elnaaz Norouzi, hatches a plan to disguise him as a gorilla and transport him to Diu, from where he’d escape for good.
Charlie, who is eager to take up any odd job, becomes his truck driver and this is when the ‘adventure’ part of the supposed ‘comedy’ kicks off. Even with all the predictability, this road trip could have been less irritating if there had been some camaraderie between the two. Unfortunately, all you see is the businessman Makwana rejecting bananas and rolling his eyes inside the gorilla suit as Charlie tries hard to entertain with his silly antics. All in complete vain. The humour is basic (if at all), the dialogues are exhausting and the narrative is painfully clichéd.
Next, a case of mistaken identity occurs when a plane crashes, setting an actually gorilla meant for an Indian zoo free. Forgettable characters add idiocy to this monkey business. There’s a shrewd circus owner (Girish Kulkarni) trying to acquire a gorilla, a forest ranger (Rajpal yadav) who doesn’t know how to deal with animals and a veterinarian (Bharat Ganeshpure) who acts as a full-time drunk. What a waste of talent!
Speaking of talent, Aadar Jain shows promise in his second him Hello Charlie, but he still has a long way to go. He bears uncanny resemblance to his cousin, Ranbir Kapoor, which we understand is beyond his control, but he could have brought his own flair in dialogue delivery and mannerisms. But here’s Aadar’s Charlie reminding us of Ranbir’s Prem from Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani.
Jackie Shroff doesn’t get a role worthy of his acting prowess, once again after his disappointing web series OK Computer. He deserved more than screaming “Khujli ho rahi hai” while itching profusely and jumping around. His girlfriend, essayed by Elnaaz Norouzi in the film, gives a decent performance.
Hello Charlie’s female lead, debutante Shhloka Pandit, is introduced with an item number. Yes, this is still happening in Bollywood. She plays Padmini, a dancer being exploited by Girish’s circus owner. Her role is too brief to make an impact. She teams up with Charlie so that they can achieve their individual goals freedom for her and money for him.
As for the direction, there wasn’t much to do in this straight-forward plot, but to execute it well. Well, that doesn’t happen. Hello Charlie goes for a slapstick adventure and bores the audience in the process, causing annoyance than laughter. The film concludes with a high-pitched showdown where a banana is also a key player.
All in all, Hello Charlie is a mindless comedy, which might get some giggles from kids, but only eye rolls from adults. If you want to shut off your brain and sit in front a screen, this film can be your pick for the weekend, but we suggest you pass your time with the other gorilla movie 2021 gave us, Godzilla vs Kong.
Last thoughts: Hello Charlie concludes with the narrator saying, “Shayad kisi ne theek hi kaha hai, jo kuch nahi karte wo kamaal karte hai (Those who do nothing, do amazing things).” Maybe the makers of the film took this to heart. As for us, we never witnessed the ‘kamaal’. So, goodbye Charlie.
Hello Charlie Movie Review Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and half stars)
Star Cast: Jackie Shroff’s face, Aadar Jain, Shlokka Pandit, Elnaaz Norouzi, Rajpal Yadav, Bharat Ganeshpure, Girish Kulkarni
Director: Pankaj Saraswat
What’s Good: Out of too many scattered punchlines, few work
What’s Bad: It teases you by laying this larger-than-life premise, building hopes of having this unabashedly hilarious comedy routine, but exposes its hollow plot ruined by the lazy writing
Loo Break: If you took a break, you’re not resuming this!
Watch or Not?: If you’ve 100 minutes lying around to kill, go ahead!
Hello Charlie is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.- Published by The Beyond News (Entertainment)