If you’re feeling a bit low on life, you should watch Chintu Ka Birthday and here are some beautiful things about the film that will make you want to watch it right away.
On his sixth birthday, all Chintu wants is to give out chocolates to his classmates and cut a cake with 25 friends at his home. Only problem is – his school bombed. This is yet another violent day in Baghdad. Thanks to George Bush, or as Chintu calls him, amreeki uncle.
Madan, Chintu’s dad, played brilliantly by Vinay Pathak, tries his best to provide the birthday cake. Having been trapped in war-torn Iraq for a year now, his family wants nothing more than a sense of normalcy. But things get worse as two American soldiers find reason to suspect this innocent Indian family.
Yet, despite their desperate situation, they still find the courage to be kind to these violent invaders. It is through their shockingly naïve actions, and not just dialogue, that the narrative successfully subverts our understanding “of how the world works”.
In that lies the magic of this film.
The family’s resolute kindness is empowering because of the writers’ resolute understanding of the humanity behind the carnage of war. They render each and every character the humanity they deserve. Their trauma, cleverly emphasized with subtle music, is not sensationalized but countered with comedy. They are easy to root for. It makes for a delightfully entertaining watch.
In these strange times of natural calamities, political polarization, and the Pandemic, Chintu Ka Birthday finds its significance in advocating for kindness.
Kindness that is not naïve but wise – based on the simple belief that every human is capable of love 🙂