We have an interesting repertoire of war-based movies in Indian cinema. From invoking patriotism to making us realize the futility of lives lost, we’ve seen it all. However, few stories have the ability to tug at your heart strings with the simplicity of the message they put across. Chintu ka Birthday on ZEE5 is one such beautifully made movie.
Set in 2004 Baghdad during Saddam Hussain’s fall, Chintu ka Birthday introduces us to an illegal immigrant Indian family, The Tiwaris. Manoj (a brilliant Vinay Pathak), Sudha (silently expressive Tilottama Shome), his mother-in-law (veteran Seema Pahwa) and his two adorable kids Lakshmi (gifted Bisha Chaturvedi) and Chintu (a super cute Vedant Chibber) are excitedly decking up their home for Chintu’s sixth birthday party.
Chintu ka Birthday is set within the four walls of the Tiwaris’ home. The cake-baking, quiet singing and calmness inside is in stark contrast to the shelling outside. Their dreams of making the day special for Chintu seem to be shattered when two American soldiers enter their home.
Chintu ka Birthday might have a war in the backdrop but is essentially about human relationships and family bonding. The lives and struggles of normal people are often discounted in the bigger picture but do they not matter? Isn’t it unfair when the violence around them makes impressionable kids lose their innocence? This movie evokes many such questions in our mind.
A family that’s pulling all stops to make their darling Chintu’s sixth birthday celebration special seems like any other we know. The American soldiers, while following orders, don’t seem to completely buy on the construct for being there in the first place. Chintu’s best friend and girlfriend who come to attend his birthday party made me smile but jabbed my heart too. What world are we leaving behind for our kids, really?
The unique story is further enhanced by stellar performances by the cast. Vinay Pathak slips into the role of a doting father with ease. His dialogues bring out his vulnerability yet exhibit his determination to protect his family. Tilottama Shome’s eyes speak out her silent words. Seema Pahwa is effortless as always. Bisha Chaturvedi is wonderful. Vedant Chibber stands out though with his incredibly innocent expressions and dialogues like “Papa isko cake nahi khilayange”.
The movie has a run time of 80 minutes and has been directed by Devanshu Kumar and Satyanshu Singh. Charu Shree Roy deserves a mention for the crisp editing. Although limited to the Tiwari home, the war situation has been captured well with light and sound effects.
If ratings get you interested, Chintu ka Birthday has an impressive IMDb of 8.3. It raises rhetorical questions that would make us introspect the way we look at ourselves and the world. All parents want is to make their kids happy and keep them safe. Is that too much to ask for? Watch Chintu ka Birthday on ZEE5 to meet the adorable Tiwari family who could easily be your next door neighbour.