India is a place that values its traditions, and Rajma Chawal explores the contradiction of a place so attached to its customs with the new modern life, where social networks are the engine of a social life. This confusion between the old and the new is portrayed in this story of father and son, in which the elder, stuck to old conventions, needs to delve into modernity to be able to connect – no pun intended – to his millennial son. This is a nice movie, easy to watch and to like, since all the characters that appear on screen have enough charisma to handle this story, which can often seem confusing. However, the feature goes the right way and delivers a very competent production (watch here).
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The confusion that the film offers up to half of its projection isn’t for nothing: the story talks about a father who pretends to be a woman on Facebook to get the attention of his son, who has giant struggles because of the communication difficulty between them. Did it sound strange? It is, in fact.
A less careful production could result in a disastrous film. Here, however, the subject is treated lightly, and so, comedy works, and it is possible to laugh at some situations, while others give much to the viewer to reflect.
Rajma Chawal tells this unusual story from the comedy of customs’ point of view. His father, Raj, is a man completely attached to certain traditions of the Indian people, not having the slightest proximity to the internet, for example. Meanwhile, his son Kabir is a young man connected to the modern world, being one of those who are in all social networks and set up all their encounters with friends through them, without having to use their smartphone to make a call, for example. The two don’t understand each other because of this, and end up always fighting, even making Kabir leave the house and undo his band, from which he is the vocalist.
Sad with this situation, Raj ends up having a strange idea: pretending to be a girl on a Facebook profile, he starts talking to his son as if he was her. Soon a special bond emerges between the two, and Kabir finds himself in love with the girl he has never seen in person. It is a headache for Raj, who now needs to find the girl from the photos he uses to talk to his son to bring them closer and hide the truth.
Although Rajma Chawal is a comedy, there are times when the discussions between father and son gain dramatic contours, due to the incommunicability between them. The father resents the distant son, and the son is angry with the “annoying” father – a traditional man. In a world where modernity is causing a number of these customs to be altered or even abandoned, Rajma Chawal brings this discussion into our home, showing how it can affect the life of a simple family, that despite loving each other, end up finding coexistence problems on a daily basis.
A little lost
If there is a flaw in Rajma Chawal that can compromise the end result, is the confusing screenplay from the middle of the movie onwards. From the moment Raj needs to find the girl from the photos he uses to portray himself as a woman on Facebook, everything sounds a bit forced, fleeing from a kind of realism (as far as possible) that the film had shown up to that point.
However, it doesn’t take long for Leena Yadav, the director of Rajma Chawal, to rediscover the story course and put it on the rails again. The balance, in the end, is positive, and with this we have a comedy with dramatic contours that is worth watching because of the discussion about modernity that it brings, and also for making us laugh at situations that border the absurd: the stubborn father, who hates cell phones and the internet, ends up giving in to social networking, and his entrance into this world is pretty funny. Rajma Chawal, therefore, is a fun movie, but it also deepens discussions that, although it happens in India, can fit into anywhere in the world.
Trailer and additional information about Rajma Chawal Netflix
Synopsis 1: He eats his rice and beans the odd-school way: with his hands. His son eats it with a spoon – while texting. How can these two generations connect?
Synopsis 2: Hoping to revive his relationship with his resentful millennial son, an internet-rookie widower assumes the online persona of a young woman.
Age rating: 16;