A fourteen-year-old Dalit boy (Soham Maitra) is growing up in an unnamed corner of India. His dream is to go to a town school like his elder brother (Riddhi Sen) and his reality is to look after the pig that his family owns. His only escape is to sit atop a Jamun tree and adore his beloved (Ena Saha) passing by on her scooter. His unspoken love is as true as his mother’s helplessness who cleans the cowsheds of the local strongman’s mansion, with whom she also has a secret liaison. When the boy’s elder brother comes on a vacation to the village, he soon finds out about his younger brother’s infatuation. The learned elder brother makes him realize the need to express his love and helps him write a love letter.Wikipedia
What’s missing in between is a fluid narrative, which hobbles the film. Or is the choppiness down to cuts? Either way, this is a film which could have been more.
With a brilliant theme, a narrative structure that flows, and social relevance that hooks the viewer, Chauranga makes for a powerful watch.
‘Chauranga’ is a hard-hitting subject that is engaging enough till its climax.
...a good attempt at reminding us that India is still bound by caste and gender discrimination but it really does nothing more than that. And that's the biggest problem.
Watch Chauranga because it is honest, provocative and piercing. It announces the advent of a promising new voice in Mumbai’s independent cinema.
Chauranga is neither provocative nor skillful in its portrayal. Though its last scene ushers in a ray of hope to nullify the haunting gory glimpses from the film, it never soars high enough to affect you.
...is innocent yet vicious. It's a must-watch for those who love their cinematic display 'raw'.
This movie might not be easy to relate to, as it is far removed from our realities, but it is to the debutant director Bikas Ranjan Mishra’s credit that the main protagonist's struggles and helplessness get to you. This is not an easy watch, but definitely an important one
In debutant director Bikas Ranjan Mishra’s Chauranga there are so many scummy characters swimming in the tides of a temporal debauchery and greed that you desperately look for ways to tell yourself, life is worth living after all, like you do in the best morality tales of our times.
Chauranga is a dark, cryptic and provocative look at cast oppression as seen through the eyes of a young innocent boy. This is the world of Shyam Benegal’s Nishant and Prakash Jha’s Damul. But a lot more murky and yes, clumsy. There is way too much fondling, pushing and touching, not all of it appropriate or even apt. Sanjay Suri’s love making scenes with Tannishtha Chatterjee show him copulating violently, with his pyjama on.
Chauranga makes an engrossing watch, although one wishes there was more to its story.
The film has been shot well and manages to highlight crucial issues. Even though it is director Bikas Ranjan Mishra’s debut film, he has done an impressive job. While the film does make a great attempt, the story leaves a lot to be expected from and drags on in parts. Chauranga attempts to expose the inequity and injustice in society and will stir-up its audience.
Chauranga is certainly not your regular popcorn flick, with several scenes that will make the popcorn in your stomach toss and turn. But if you are an admirer of realistic cinema, this can be your movie of the weekend.
There’s no denying that the film in unflinching, unafraid to show Dalit village life as the series of compromises it often is. Had the performances been stronger, the accents more convincing, and the ideas more novel, Chauranga might have achieved something like the dramatic power of recent Marathi-language films about childhood.
From the first frame the film seemed a little too dull. The kind of dull we have gotten used to when watching movies in 3D. This got only worse in the low-lit night sequences where absolutely nothing was visible.
As against a seething, fuming Fandry, Chauranga is a lot more muted and quiet in its rage. But the thread of protest runs through it nonetheless as Santu retaliates against each bit of random violence heaped against him or his brother.
Audience Reviews for Chauranga
Films about discrimination in general are hard to watch, but not this slow-paced crime-drama by debutante Bikas Ranjan Mishra.
Santu (Soham Maitra) and Bajrangi (Riddhi Sen) are two teenager of a Dalit caste who live with their mother, Dhaniya (Tannistha Chatterjee), in a village dominated by upper caste self-proclaimed politician, Dhaval (Sanjay Suri). As a perfect hypocrite, Dhaval preaches caste discrimination to the outer world, but stoops inside Dhaniya's sari when it comes to his sexual needs, worsening his matrimony in the process. While Bajrangi goes to town to study, Santu roams around during the day observing the departure and arrival of Mona, Dhava;s'd pretty daughter. The scene is rather disturbed as the lower caste families are oppressed and exploited by the upper caste people - the likes of Dhaval and his highly volatile supporters like Raghu (Anshuman Jha).
Nothing substantial happens in the first 60 minutes, as the only things you will see is Santu playing with his contraption, hanging from a tree, ogling at Mona and possibly her developing breasts, whose intricate information he derived from Bajrangi's high school Science textbook. He plans to profess his love to her, and assigns his brother to write a love letter, without realizing that it would come back to bite him in the eye. The focus is largely on Santu's daily inconsequential escapades and Dhaval's parents who seem to be characters straight out of a religious book. There's also this obsession over pigs and their kidnapping and the speculation of them giving birth to farrow, which seems somehow tied to the people's idol-worshiping habits.
Towards the ending, things take a serious turn and the real message starts getting transmitted. That Dalits are oppressed by the dominants by the hour, which is also evident from the closing epigraph.
Tannishtha Chatterjee is wonderful, and I declare her the actress of the year 2016. After showcasing her acting chops in UnIndian and Parched which released this year, I can surely tell her that she's one of the leading actresses in the independent cinema scene. Sanjay Suri and the kids do a good job, but they more or like do what they were told. Supporting cast is fine.
The theme is very relevant to the current times, but I'm afraid the message gets blurred as it seeps through the cracks that are gaps in the film due to the slow pace.
BOTTOM LINE: Bikas Ranjan Mishra's "Chauranga" could be a real depiction of the multi-colored lives we witness in this cruel world, but what it really is is a stream of colors that have become dull due to over-strain. Watch it on a free Netflix plan.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO