Chameli is about a single night chance encounter between a prostitute and a bank employee.
Produced by Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd, the movie is yet another attempt at semi-realistic cinema by Sudhir Mishra who had in the past made ‘one-night-stand’ film titled Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin.
It is a rainy night in Mumbai. Aman (Rahul Bose) is in a mood to drive through the city as rain brings him the memories of his dead wife (Rinke Khanna), who was killed in a tragic accident on a rainy night.
In another part of the town, a prostitute Chameli refuses to spend the night with a local corporate. For her the remaining night means wandering on the streets.
Filled with nostalgia, Aman keeps driving aimlessly until his car breaks down at Mumbai’s Flora Fountain. Stranded in rain with a broken car, Aman decides to take shelter in the arches of Fountain.
Aman flips out a cigarette but, to his disappointment, finds out that he has run out of matches. There and then he sees a young girl draped in a gaudy sari smoking a cigarette. He approaches her for a match. The girl is none other than Chameli.
After a brief introduction, characterized by Aman’s shock at the crude mannerism of the girl, the two get along talking. The remaining night will be full of stirred emotions, hesitant revelations followed by inevitable separation.
Although the film is quite deftly made, it moves at a much slower pace than what the viewers of mainstream cinema are used to. Therefore, some may find the story a bit dragging.
Still the highpoint of the movie is its story – a one-night encounter between an investment banker and a prostitute, two strangers belonging to entirely different worlds. The idea is interesting and so many subtle nuances could have been incorporated in it. But the opportunity is not fully used by Sudhir Mishra who merely scratches through his characters without going deep into anyone’s psyche.
Kareena Kapoor has tried her best to play a prostitute but she hasn’t been able to get under the very skin of her character. Although her body language is to the requirements of the role, her voice and her dialogue delivery in crude tone seems a bit deliberate.
Rahul Bose, on the other hand, is at ease playing his character, but he appears uncomfortable speaking Hindi at times.
On the whole, Chameli is much different from the usual Bollywood boy-meets-girl stories. But the movie lacks the pace and appeal to hold a viewer’s interest.