Director: Pankaj Saraswat
Written by: Pankaj Sarawat and Abhishek Khairkar
Edited from: Chandon Arora and Mitesh Sony
Cinematography: Andre Menezes
Starring: Aadar Jain, Jackie Shroff, Elnaaz Norouzi, Shlokka Pandit
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video
While watching the really awful Hi CharlieI was wondering: How do you make such a film? Did writer-director Pankaj Saraswat sit in the luxury office of Excel Entertainment and actually tell a story in which Jackie Schroff spends most of his time disguised as a gorilla? And what compelled producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, the power plants that began their careers with Dil chahta hito say yes. And how many days does Jackie shoot? Because while he is in the gorilla’s costume, we see him in a strict close-up, muttering or rolling his eyes. And why does his hero, a billionaire in the style of Nirav Modi, who is trying to escape India after organizing a 4,000-crore scam, have such hatred for bananas? Is this the only way another character can offer him one and ask: You don’t like a banana, Mr. McVana? I suspect the answers to these questions would be more fun than this movie.
Hi Charlie is one of those films that opposes reviews. Because I’m not sure I can explain correctly how painful it is to watch. The plot revolves around McVanna, trying to reach Diu, where he will go to Dubai by boat. His girlfriend, Mona, probably named after Mona’s iconic mall from Ajit’s films, decides that the best way would be for him to be in a monkey costume. Aadar Jain plays the titular Charlie, an honest and sincere boy who doesn’t seem to be able to do anything right. Charlie is hired by Mona to take the masked Maquana in his truck. There are several accidents along the way.
Maybe Jackie enjoyed playing, as one character says:bandaron ka Hrithik Roshan‘, but for the rest it’s mind-boggling. I felt like I was getting stupider with each scene. These include a circus song, a game of chess that Makvana in a gorilla costume plays with a drunken veterinarian; a real gorilla that contributes to confusion; and a forest ranger who shot Makvana with a tranquilizer pistol. During its duration, the film remains defiantly bad, almost as if someone dared the creators to scrape the depths of horror.
The only thing that seems to have been noticed is Aadar Jain’s hair, which remains perfectly attached, regardless of the situation. I also liked Jackie’s wardrobe, which ranges from an expensive-looking printed bathrobe to a chic floral jacket. Maybe that’s what convinced him to play the banana-hating Maquana.
We will never know.
You can watch Hi Charlie on Amazon Prime Video. Although I’ve endured it so you don’t have to.