“Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga,” which translates as “The Thief Has Escaped,” has a disorienting first half but benefits from a stronger second half. Though it is not exempt from its loopholes, we are alright with it since we were not expecting an airtight script to begin with. Maybe that is why it wasn’t the leads but Sharad Kelkar, with a supporting role, who stole the show. Yami Gautam Dhar played a part that still had notes of her performance in “A Thursday” and looked like a vision in red. We were not completely sold on Sunny Kaushal’s “helpless due to circumstance” act which he carried throughout the film. While we can understand how that would be warranted by the script, we would have still liked to see him be in charge of things, at least when his character was under the illusion that he was. It would have made Neha’s revenge against him that much sweeter. But he got his moment in the end when Neha came to visit him for the final time. The laugh when he tells her that he is finally in love with her makes us think that a crucial part of his acting range, one the movie would have benefited from, was not tapped into.
“Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga” is not going to make a great impact. It is an attempt to do something novel, but which got lazy with its writing midway. It is almost as if the writer couldn’t wrap his pen around the brief that was given to him, and every inconvenience of the story was adjusted at the last minute. We know that we said that we weren’t expecting a loophole-free script, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t notice them or that we will not point them out. Yet, despite everything, the two things that bothered us the most were the romantic song and the part where the leads decide to get married. Starting with the song, there was a time when the inclusion of music in films felt so seamless. When did it start becoming so jarring? We knew we wouldn’t be able to avoid the love story, but what was generic could have been made beautiful by the musical buildup to it instead of just an abrupt placement. Despite this complaint, we have to admit that the song itself is quite hummable.
As for our second complaint, it is not as much about the movie itself as it regards the general attitude of couples regarding children and marriage. Children are a life-changing responsibility, and unless and until you have been enthusiastically planning for the change, there is no reason to marry a person you have barely known for a year. And why did Neha not think it was a red flag that her supposed fiancé hid the fact that he was in such massive debt? Why did she still want to marry him? Also, we understand a coincidental second meeting, but if the guy is waiting outside the club’s bathroom and it is your third meeting that day, it is not fate by a far margin. Coming to Ankit, if you come to know that your girlfriend is involved with the underworld, you either run or make the best use of her resources. That is what would have made his plot more sinister, but no, it was chalked up to a happy coincidence.
But despite it all, what got us again was just another unnecessary instance of violence against women on screen. The entire purpose of the ordeal that Naha had to face was to strengthen her resolve to act against Ankit. We must ask: is the only way the audience will feel any sympathy for a woman is if she has gone through some sort of abuse? Is that the only way we are capable of seeing why we should support her actions? Neha could have been a grey character, or she could have been someone who was trying to take back control of her narrative and her own life after she came to know of Ankit’s betrayal. But her character had to end up in a hospital, despite the more empowering options available.
We are really falling short of words as we struggle to verbalize our feelings about the film. One thing we noticed is that the makers would have you believe that they have made something where the devil is in the details. But when those very details are wrapped in a bewildered narrative, the audience cannot be blamed for not paying attention. That is what we felt about the first half though the wrap-up of the second half was enough to explain it all away without us having to rewind anything. If you ask us whether you should watch “Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga,” we would say that adding the “Jaaniye” song to your playlist is enough, and maybe getting the deets on Neha’s red dress. Nothing else really stood out to us otherwise, but if you insist, “Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga” is worth watching in the interest of keeping up with underwhelming pop culture.