A powerful and superbly crafted film, Amrinder Gill’s directorial debut, Chhalla Mud Ke Nahi Aaya is an utterly immersive account of how Punjabis fought for their rights in a foreign land, facing extremely harsh conditions and exploitation under British imperialism.
It’s not easy to lead a film as a hero and helm it too, but kudos to Amrinder Gill, who captures the right emotions of his entire starcast in every frame, and delivers a near-perfect masterpiece.
Chhalla Mud ke Nahi Aaya is loosely based on the tragic incidents of British Columbia, Canada during the first decade of the 20th century, when thousands of Sikhs were exploited, discriminated and alienated under unlawful “Asian Exclusion” policies. Not only were they made to live under uncomfortable bunk houses, they were also asked to put in more laborious hours at paltry salaries.
The director in Amrinder Gill deftly captures the fear, the helplessness, the longing for loved ones, the strength and ultimately, the bravery of all these men who had come all the way from Punjab to Canada in the hope of providing a better future for their families back home!
Chhalla Mud Ke Nahi Aaya’s soul lies in its raw portrayal of human emotions. The movie is extraordinary not because Amrinder Gill has both starred and directed it, but also because it’s ambitious and beautifully executed. Gill has put in so much care into its humane details – – the letter reading scene, the “Tuesday” joke, the funny English (No poison, galli baati sapp) the hilarious banter between each of the “bunk-mates” – – all adds up to making Chhalla Mud Ke Nahi Aaya a wonderful cinematic experience.
Another thing that works in the movie’s favour are the unique interactions between some of its principal characters. Be it Binnu Dhillon- Amrinder Gill; Amrinder Gill- Karamjiit Anmol; and even the lead pair of the movie “Amrinder Gill and Sydney Eberwein” (the heroine of the movie who actually steals the show with her cute yet impactful performance).
The title song of the film, Chhalla Mud Ke Nahi Aaya, is undoubtedly the soul of the movie, while the cinematography is brilliant too!
As far as the performances are concerned, Amrinder Gill shows his mettle once again with a very layered performance. While by face, he appears to be an eager, gregarious and earnest sort of a guy, but as the movie progresses, he shows a demeanor of a man who stands by what is right, and is brave enough to lead the battle from the front.
Karamjot Anmol delivers one of the most memorable performances of his life. His dialogue delivery and timing is unmatchable, and his funny attempts at speaking English would surely send you in splits of laughter.
Binnu Dhillon is super cute and hilarious. The camaraderie between him and Gill is definitely going to remind you of ‘Angrej’ – the pathbreaking film of 2015.
Raj Kakra plays the role of a disciplined army man perfectly while Sargun Mehta is decent in a small role.
Talking about the shortcomings, one would agree that after interval, the abrupt transition of the film from Canada to Punjab seems a bit unnatural. The India scenes after “Chhalla’s” comeback to India are over-stretched and suddenly, the flow of emotion that was built in the first half, gets cut to what seemed like an ordinary Punjabi village light-hearted comedy.
The whole angle of Chhalla’s planned wedding with a new girl in ‘pind’ was unnecessary and, considering that it leads to nothing eventually, it should’ve been eliminated to make room for something more interesting.
Instead, this “extra time” could be used to focus on the struggles that Chhalla’s fellow factory-mates face in Canada during his absence!
Nevertheless, the movie ends up touching your soul in the end. The finale scene is superb and serves as a perfect climax to a wonderful movie.
Overall, Chhalla Mud Ke Nahi Aaya is a highly ambitious and emotional take on both the suffering and bravery of Sikh men who fought for their rights in a foreign land.
Amberdeep’s story and Amrinder Gill’s direction make this Rhythm Boyz movie a perfect film to watch over the weekend with family.
With a sheen of nostalgia and a portrayal of pre-independence Punjab, Chhalla Mud Ke Nahi Aaya wins everyone’s hearts.
IAP Rating: 4/5