“More innocent the face, more the devil relates”. This quote goes apt for the Bollywood movie “Chehre”, which means “faces”. I must tell you that Chehre is a mystery thriller like none other! Filmmakers Ranjit Kapoor and Rumy Jafry bring this thrilling story to the big screen which is horrifying enough to keep you glued to your seats even after its end. Featuring one of the greatest actors of all time in the Bollywood film industry, Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actor Emraan Hashmi in the lead roles, Chehre was released in theaters on August 27, 2021.
Adapted from the German novel titled “A Dangerous Game” by author Friedrich Durrenmatt, Chehre tells the story of mysterious people who appear just like commoners we meet in our daily lives. However, their intentions are evil and deep inside, their conscience relates to the devil himself! They were the four faces of the devil whom a businessman named Sameer Mehra met on his fateful day.
One stormy wintry morning, Sameer (Emraan Hashmi) found himself trapped in the snow-laden mountains while traveling in his car. He met a retired defense lawyer named Paramjeet Singh Bhullar (Annu Kapoor) who invited him to take shelter in his home from the snowy storm.
But when Sameer reached Bhullar’s house, he met three other old men there, a retired judge Jagdish Acharya (Dhritiman Chatterjee), a retired public prosecutor Lateef Zaidi (Amitabh Bachchan) and a retired executioner Hariya Jadhav (Raghubir Yadav). They had a housekeeper too named Anna Matthews (Rhea Chakraborty).
After freshening up, Sameer started chatting with them. During their conversation, the four old men convinced him to participate in a game. It was supposedly called the “game of justice” where these retired judicial officials enact their pre-retirement roles. Jagdish Acharya becomes the judge; Lateef Zaidi, the prosecutor and Paramjeet Singh Bhullar, the defense attorney. They told Sameer that they had invited several people previously on separate occasions and played this game with them. Sameer thought this was fun and agreed to participate in the game. Little did he know that this funny game will bring his darkest inner fears alive very soon!
Before beginning the game, the old men warned Sameer that he won’t be allowed to leave this game mid-way and also if he pleads guilty during this “game trial”, he is going to be “executed” by Hariya Jadhav. Sameer didn’t understand what they actually meant by “execution”. He assumed that this “execution” would be a fake one which was just a part of this fun game. He thought this was going to be the funniest game of his life with a lifelike court trial and also a mock execution in the end. But unknown to Sameer, the four old men had locked the only exit of the house so that he could not get away by any chance!
The game began and the old men asked Sameer whether he had committed any crime till date, so that they get a reason to prosecute him. Sameer told them that he was absolutely clean and never in his life had committed any crime. They warned him that if he didn’t come up with any committed crime, then public prosecutor Zaidi will enforce any crime of his own upon him and they will begin his trial based on that.
Prosecutor Zaidi started questioning Sameer on how he achieved the position of a company’s top executive. As the questioning proceeded, Sameer became emotional. He started revealing his dark secrets to them with regard to his achievement. Sameer had a boss named G.S. Oswal (Samir Soni) who was his company’s head. Sameer had an illicit relationship with his boss’ wife Natasha Oswal (Krystle D’Souza) and both he and Natasha had planned and murdered Mr. Oswal!
Now the old men had a valid reason to prosecute him. While Sameer was freshening up, prosecutor Zaidi had checked his phone which he had left in the drawing room by mistake. In the phone there was a video clip of Sameer getting intimate with Natasha. It was further revealed during the trial that Sameer had deliberately sent that video clip to Mr. Oswal upon seeing which Oswal had suffered a stroke as he used to love his wife very much. As Mr. Oswal had the stroke, Sameer and Natasha had injected him with a poison which ultimately killed him.
But that was not all! During the trial it was further revealed that Natasha was not only cheating her husband but she was cheating Sameer as well! Natasha had a boyfriend named Richard Alexander (Alexx O’Nell) with whom she had planned to fool Sameer into loving her and killing her husband Mr. Oswal. Sameer was nothing more than a scapegoat!
However, Sameer too was clever enough. He threatened Natasha that if she didn’t give him a share of Mr. Oswal’s property, then he would make that video clip of her official over social media! Natasha had no other option but to give him what he wanted. Sameer was in fact going to collect the due amount from Natasha in that stormy wintry day when he got stranded with these old men!
As all this was revealed during the game trial, judge Jagdish Acharya pleaded Sameer guilty of murder and sentenced him to death by hanging. Eventually, Sameer became tired of this silly game and proceeded to leave. But the four old men had already locked the house and there was no escape for him! Sameer realized that all this was for real and they were actually going to execute him by hanging! Hariya Jadhav came forward with a thick rope and asked Sameer to come with him upstairs, where he would hang and execute him in isolation.
The old men warned Sameer that if he didn’t cooperate with them in his execution, they will produce the CCTV footage of this trial to the real court. They had secretly recorded the entire trial and now it was the time of justice for the murder of Sameer’s boss Mr.Oswal! All this was too much for Sameer! This was supposed to be a game, right?! He became fired up and grabbed a gun from one of the men. He shot at the lock which was sealing the exit gate and the lock broke. Sameer escaped and ran frantically through the cold wintry snow covered mountains hoping to get to his car. The old men too followed him.
Sameer ran till he accidently fell from the snow covered mountains to meet his death. He did get his death punishment for the crime which he had committed. Or perhaps, was it the devil himself who came in the form of these four faces to destroy him?
The ending shows Lateef Zaidi calling the police where he tells them that a man “Sameer” just fell from the mountains and died. The police investigation revealed that the corpse found was indeed Sameer’s. Finally, Natasha visited the place to collect Sameer’s phone. Zaidi answered the door and she told him that the phone was “company property” and she had come to claim it on behalf of her company. Zaidi invited her inside to play the “game of justice”.
Chehre (2021) Trailer:
Chehre has an engrossing screenplay which is sure to keep you glued throughout. The moment Sameer enters the house, seeing the mysterious old men you would know that something unexpected is going to happen. The screenplay in Chehre is packed with dramatic incidents where you will see Sameer’s destiny slowly unfold at the hands of the retired judiciary. As time passes, Sameer gets desperate to end the game but there was no escape. I must say, seeing Sameer’s plight and desperation was thrilling enough to keep me glued for the entire run duration of 2 hours 20 minutes.
Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi together pulled the entire show throughout till the end with their top class performances. The thrill in the entire movie was solely due to Bachchan’s mysterious character of prosecutor Lateef Zaidi. He is shown as a tall shaggy man with a face covered in glasses and his white beard. Upon seeing Zaidi and his body language towards Sameer, one can clearly assume that he was up with some dark plan under his sleeve. Besides, Bachchan requires no introduction! He is the father of Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and has been bestowed the title of the “Emperor of Bollywood”. I must say, he truly deserves the tag as his talent can be seen through his marvelous acting skills. The way he prosecuted Sameer was worth the watch. He slowly turned an ordinary trial game into the worst nightmare of Sameer’s life.
If you are a Bollywood movie buff, you must be familiar with Emraan Hashmi. I have to give credits to Hashmi’s acting because it’s his body language and dialogue delivery in the movie which seals the deal. He has the typical “bad boy” attitude throughout and doesn’t seem to care much about anything. Keep in mind that when you are watching an Emraan Hashmi movie, you usually get to see a lot of adultery which was shown in Chehre as well through Sameer and Natasha’s romance.
Supporting actors Annu Kapoor and Dhritiman Chatterjee carried out their respective roles as the defense attorney and the judge quite well. Annu Kapoor with his witty gimmicks towards Sameer throughout the trial game did make the screenplay even more interesting.
Cinematographer Binod Pradhan did an amazing camerawork in Chehre. Though most of the movie was shot inside a large old-fashioned house, still his skilled camera shots of the expressions of the characters did make wonders in evoking the thrill. The outdoor cinematography was equally good with mostly snow covered mountains and snow storms. However, that covered just a few minutes of the entire run duration.
Spoiler Alert! Samir Soni’s Makeup
I will be honest with this. I feel that actor Samir Soni’s makeup to make him look like the old Mr. Oswal was the real spoiler. The makeup of Mr. Oswal didn’t suit him at all as Soni seemed to be striving in the makeup to look best in the character. The filmmakers should have considered revising his old man look. They had simply applied a dark coating all over his face to make him look at least 40 years older to his on-screen wife Krystle.
The Joe Cost Character
You will find this funny but all of a sudden a character named Joe Cost (Siddhant Kapoor) erupted out of nowhere! He was introduced by the old men to Sameer as an ex-convict who had served jail sentence on account of murder. He was actually their housekeeper Anna’s brother and was somewhat intimidating to Sameer. He was dumb with big round eyes and Sameer tried not to look at him too much. I think introducing such a character made the movie lose its thrill to some extent as I found this character to be extremely funny. Even Reha Chakraborty as Anna Matthews didn’t have much of a role to play except giving weird facial expressions to Sameer.
Initially, Chehre was set to release across theaters worldwide on July 17, 2020. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it got delayed by a year. The editing in Chehre by Bodhaditya Banerjee did play its role in amplifying the screenplay. The trial game moved to scenes showing Sameer and Natasha’s romance and murder plan in between but the movie didn’t go off track. Banerjee’s precise editing instilled a sense of continuity in its flow. Though Chehre has a good 2 hours and 20 minutes run duration, you won’t feel bored watching the trial game. It has enough twists and turns to keep the thrill intact.
The main aspects of Emraan Hashmi’s films which make them box office hits are the songs. Hashmi is renowned to star in some of the blockbuster songs of Bollywood throughout the decade. In fact, the tracks in his previous films used to be my favorites once upon a time. However, I feel that the songs in Chehre have failed to live up to the level of Hashmi’s previous tracks.
Even if impractical, all goes well in a movie! Chehre is sure to instill the peak thrill which most thriller lovers crave for. So, if you are in for some thrill, just switch on your television sets to watch Chehre streaming only on Amazon Prime Video!
- Acting - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8.5/108.5/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 9/109/10
- Setting/Theme - 8/108/10
- Watchability - 8.5/108.5/10
- Rewatchability - 7/107/10