People aspire for money and power in the pursuit of happiness, little realising that the ultimate happiness comes from within. We have read and heard several anecdotes about the philosophy that a wandering soul can attain the ultimate peace only when it gives up the desires. The second phase of this thought process leads to self pity and then the final phase infuses clarity in conscience. 'Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein' is a celluloid story about the transformation of a workaholic into an enlightened man.
Aditya Pradhan (Sachin Khedekar) is an IT professional who works day and night to achieve the targets his company sets for him. He doesn't give a second thought before going full throttle to remain in the competition. Accumulating things of materialistic pleasure gives him a sense of triumph. Aditya's wife and daughter long for his company but he is too busy to satiate their needs. One day, his wife and daughter leave him in a state of frustration and then strange things start to happen with Aditya. No no, don't worry; it's not another ghost story.
Anyway, Aditya gets trapped in the time loop, which means everyday in his life is Sunday. Sounds surreal? Yes, it is. At least for the Hindi movie audiences, who have probably not seen same set of things happening for so many times. Unlike 'Run Lola Run' and 'Inception' where there was a limit to the recurrences of sequences, 'Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein' shows Aditya waking up to his neighbours' laughs nth number of times, but this doesn't hamper the pace of the film until the second half.
So, Aditya feels that he has already lived Sunday but everybody around him denies this. Now he becomes self conscious and starts seeking all sorts of outside help. Strangely all his hopes rest on a blind man (Anupam Kher). The basic storyline of the film is made with the concept that it's the journey that matters, not the destination.
The screenplay takes a very complicated route to put forth the idea. The structure is non-linear, that too of a complex nature. The writer has tried to encapsulate several emotions in just one film, and that prompted him to dedicate each scene to a separate sentiment. The film introduces the spectator to various loopholes of the human mind, but the proceeding becomes so confusing after a point of time that the audience starts to wait for the sequence to get over.
The first half belongs to Sachin Khedekar while the second half rests on the shoulders of Anupam Kher. Khedekar is a good actor but unfortunately he carries the same expression throughout the film, even in the climax when his transformation happens. He is believable despite looking uneasy in the forced item number 'Rum Me Gham'. His body language and mannerism are excellent and it changes gradually but Khedekar couldn't convey the expression of anger and lust convincingly at times. For example, take the scene when he chases his neighbours out of the park. That scene looks manufactured and mechanical. He lets Anupam Kher dominate the scene since the beginning which looks like a deliberate attempt because a fully convinced person couldn't be drawn so easily into something he despises.
Anupam Kher is in his usual self. This role suits him too, though he becomes preachy at more than one occasion. But this is a risk any director would have to take if they have to make a 'finding your real self' kind of film. His existence is not explained and that leaves the audiences wanting for more. The director Pramod Joshi doesn't explain the reason behind making him a blind person, though he gives a bit of hint about it towards the end.
The storyteller initiates some debates such as 'ego vs pride', and 'aim vs vision' but time constraints restrict him from delving deep into the debate. Joshi should be credited for creating moments that can ‘inspire’ the audience to introspect his past. 'Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein' argues in favour of 'live in the moment' theory but this doesn't get conveyed naturally. The characters need to thrust it in the audience's face.
The film could have worked without any song too; in fact putting an item number makes the subject lighter. The editor Shankh Rajadhyaksh has contributed to the film by judiciously using straight cuts and fades to show the time lapse and the change of space and time.
This is not for punch line lovers, neither it is for the fans of slapstick comedies. This can give you enough food for thought, but then again everything depends on how clear is your conscience and what you want from a film. 'Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein' doesn't boast of stars but Pramod Joshi cares to use the medium of cinema for a good cause. The subject is complex but it has the potential to make you think. 'Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein' doesn't deserve anything less than 2 out of 5.