Chopsticks is the story of Nirma Sahastrabuddhe, whose name alone inspires a dozen washing powder jokes in the movie, half a dozen of which made it to the trailer as well. (Someone was a bit too pleased with their “dho daala” puns). Nirma is a conservative, superstitious, too-naive-for-Mumbai middle-class girl who speaks fluent Mandarin because Papa said join Mandarin class instead of French or German because “Europe ka kya pata”. Sadly, her spoken English is “work outing” good, not “working out” good, which earns her a behenji-reputation at work and leads her down the self-confidence audioguide consumption road – not that there is anything wrong with it.
Special shoutout to the scene when the audioguide says “I will always move ahed in life” as Nirma ia backing her car out of a parking space. Just for making me chuckle when I could have used a chuckle.
The film begins with Nirma purchasing a new car, putting the family Guruji’s photo on it, and promptly handing over the car keys to a thief posing as a parking attendant. As the policeman writing the FIR expertly notes, that is not a theft – that is giving a gift. The film gets fun when she stumbles on the calling card of a conman and decides to enlist his services in her pursuit to retrieve her stolen i10. Enter, Abhay Deol’s dimples. *swoon*
Deol, who goes by the name “Artist”, is a lockpicker extraordinaire, a superchef, an expert conman, a guy with extensive knowledge of both, Mumbai’s crime directory and How To Make Friends And Influence People – all rolled into one beautiful Superdimple. In fact, many a scene in the film is dedicated solely to establishing just how super he is, even when it doesn’t move the plot along. Not that I am complaining. As far as I am concerned, the dimpler the merrier. (Yes, I am as impressed with my ability to slip in the word in any sentence as the scriptwriters of Chopsticks are impressed with their detergent jokes.)
Their quest for the i10 leads Nirma and Artist to some of Mumbai’s darkest alleys, stolen car garages, dumpyards, sweat shops, Apple stores and catering kitchens. They finally find their way to Fayyaz Bhai, the gangster who has decided to keep the car because his favourite pet – a goat called Bahubali – has taken a liking to it. Sidenote: If there was an award for Most Creative Character Naming, it would definitely have gone to this movie, which, incidentally, has nothing to do with Chopsticks.
Another special shout-out to Vijay Raaz and Achint Kaur for never not looking like they were born to play every role they’ve ever played in any movie which is lucky to have them.
The climax of the movie is all about the ways in which Nirma and Artist try to get the car back from the gangster, preferably without being shot at. Their strategy is basically foretold in Nirma’s audioguide: “Kill them with confidence and bury them with a dimple, er, smile”. Thankfully the movie remains light throughout and ends on a happy note. (Spoiler alert, not that there is any Quest for the Iron Throne going on here exactly.)
At the end, Nirma learns to be a bit less Nirma and inspires Artist to put himself out there a bit more. The i10 comes home. Everyone grows in the process. Bahubali does not become mutton gosht. And lots of dimples are flashed along the way. Still a better ending than Bran becoming King. Dho daala.