The new Netflix release, Chaman Bahar is taking everyone by surprise. At first, what may seem like a love story in a relatively backdated setting with typical “men will be men” characters, turns out to be away from a layered piece of work by writer and director Apurva Dhar Badgaiyann who has boldly put up a story that revolves around the reality of behavior towards women which is often portrayed through the rose-colored glass as love.
Produced by Yoodle Films, Chaman Bahar was released on Netflix on 19th 2020. Jitendra Kumar plays the role of Billu from Raipur opposite to Ritika Badiani as Rinku.
Storyline and underlying themes
Billy opens up a paan shop along a highway but as fate would have it, a decision by civil administration results in changing the local routes of vehicles that reduce the customers of Billu. But luckily a family moves into the house opposite his shop where a pretty maiden, Rinku lives. This causes young boys all across the town to flock to the beetle leaf shop to look at her which improved Billu’s business. Although this may seem like a funny plot structure, the harsh reality of female objectification, lust, and unwanted romantic or sexual approach towards any woman is portrayed through behavior towards Rinku.
With the escalation of the innocent infatuation to ‘love’, issues like jealousy, hatred, anger, and problems arise between Rinku and Billy and we can see Billu reacting harshly and being a chauvinist. Again, a clear example of how male entitlement is allowed in our society. The suppressed, emotionally stunted ‘ideal’ picture of a ‘man’ is shown here which may be triggering to many but is infact the reality.
Men are expected to be angry, obnoxiously protective and knight in shining armor for the damsel in distress. The incident of Billu throwing a stone at a dog who barked at Rinku is a perfect representation of toxic masculinity. The fact that patriarchy is destroying men as much as women is the interwoven theme of the movie and the prevalence of such toxicity is another reality.
Despite what society has taught men to be, some strong women like Rinku can say no to what’s wrong and that’s what irks the majority of people in places where strong feminine personality is still not acknowledged.
Other than that, the sick realities of police brutality, political oppression, and destitution are also shown in the movie, which, again is very suitable according to recent times.
Chaman Bahar – Jitendra Kumar and Ritika Badiani has played the roles of Billu and Rinku perfectly. Typically testosterone loaded behavior of Jitendra, the spunk of Rinku who is sick of being objectified and lusted after is believable to its core.
Characters like playboy and kind of creepy Ashu Bhaiya (Ashwani Kumar), Shiladitya Tiwari (Alam Khan), Sonu (Bhuvan Arora), and Chotu (Dhirendra Kumar Tiwari) are funny, annoying and offensive but only enough to make it seem realistic.
This movie of over 2 hours is triggering enough to make you uncomfortable which is why creating a headspace before watching it is necessary. A stark believer of feminism and seeker of the destruction of toxic masculinity would find it hard to swallow the movie, although everything shown in the movie is just a slightly exaggerated version of plain simple reality.
Music by Mangesh Dhakde and Anshuman Mukherjee is memorable and soothing. Cinematography by Arkodeb Mukherjee and editing by Ujjwal Chandra is a work of brilliance too.
This concoction of lust, infatuation, and seemingly love along with realistic characters from a simple town Raipur is enjoyable and perhaps an eye-opener. The layered satire on societal partiality towards men and the heinous product of that favoritism, is appreciable.