Chote Nawab movie review: Of broken hearts, irreparable relationships and a sneak peek into nawabi culture

Chote Nawab movie review: Of broken hearts, irreparable relationships and a sneak peek into nawabi culture

Chote Nawab movie review: Of broken hearts, irreparable relationships and a sneak peek into nawabi culture

What: Chote Nawab - Chhote Nawab is an ingenious and novel effort by director Kumud Chaudhary about a dysfunctional family in Lucknow which traces its roots in the Nawabs of the famed city but falters in the execution, making it a half-baked affair.

Chote Nawab movie synopsis

The story is shown from the perspective of Junaid (Svar Kamble of Chef fame) - the teenager who comes to visit his ancestral Nawabi Haveli for the first time with his parents to attend a wedding in the family. Meanwhile, the Nawabi Aghas’ elder son, Afsar (Shataf Figar), returns home a decade after estranging the family. There is gossip among the relatives as to why he has returned from a hiatus! Junaid and Afsar form a close bond and dilly-dally around the swanky surroundings while old resentments within the family are rekindled when the marriage date approaches.

Much to everyone’s shock, the bride elopes with her lover and Fauzia (Plabita Borthakhur), the fierce and defiant girl in the family volunteers to be the bride and save the family from embarrassment and ignominy. By then, Junaid who is smitten by Fauzia’s charms and the elder Nawab boy (Akshay Oberoi) who is in love with her suffer major heartbreak in their own respective grounds.


Chote Nawab movie review

It is interesting to note that Kumud casts starkly divergent gazes on the men and women in the big joint family. While the men are mostly lecherous and patriarchal, the women are partly submissive and partly bold and rebellious. The rebel in Sadiya Siddiqui’s aging virgin Gullo who has grudges against her brothers or rather herself for her condition is a curious case of anomalies in the family. Kumud navigates them thru a persistent culture shock inflicted upon Junaid while giving a vibrant peak into their lifestyle.

The shots are colorful, the vignettes of the city of Nawabs are emphatically lensed, but the backstories leave a lot to be desired for. You actually care for Asghari – played wonderfully by the talented Rajashri Deshpande but she is a character saddled with a lack of pretext. Yet Deshpande gives a feisty performance as the maid of the haveli under the clutches of sexual exploitation and patriarchy. She especially shines in a confrontational scene between her and Plabita and then with Ekavali Khanna.

Same goes for Arman enacted with sincerity by Akshay Oberoi whose character is more humanized and sanitized despite a DNA-level arrogance that runs in the family. This film was shot during 2020 when these actors were relatively new and unexplored. To give credits where due, Mangesh Dhakde and Anshuman Mukherjee’s music, featuring Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh’s ghazals, is heartrending. Indian Ocean elevates the soundtrack with its contribution.

Chote Nawab – final words

Good ideas on paper do not necessarily translate good on the screen. At the end, you get an incoherent and unsatisfactory ending. But Chote Nawab is consistently watchable as it transports you to an entirely different world. 

I go with 3 stars out of 5 for Chote Nawab. Despite a clutch of good performances, the film struggles to keep its heft under a mediocre execution.


Rating : 3/5

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About Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee

Ahwaan Padhee, is an IT Techie/Business Consultant by profession and a film critic/cinephile by passion, is also associated with Radio Playback as well, loves writing and conducting movie quizzes. More By Ahwaan Padhee

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