The Blue Umbrella (Chhatri Chor) is one of those few movies which is rich in cinematic experience but limited in its reach. The movie comes from one of the most creative directors of our time Vishal Bhardwaj and is based on a book on the same name by one of the most loved writers Ruskin Bond .
The movie revolves around Nandkishor(Played by Pankaj Kapur) & Biniya (Played by child artist Shreya) residing in a small village in Himachal Pradesh. Nandu as he is called in the village is a shop keeper who has a liking towards pickle & has a habit of acquiring attractive things in return of small debts. Biniya the smart nine year old sister of a wrestler understands his motives & always finds a solution to his crooked ways along with her friends to keep him at bay.
The twist in the story comes when the girl falls in love with a beautiful blue umbrella brought by few Japanese tourists & gets it in exchange of her bear claw necklace. Ass She roams around the village with the pretty umbrella in beautiful backdrops of Himachal, she has all the eyes set on her & herpossesion. Whileshe shares it with her friends & poses for photos with the tourists, she snubs all attempts by Nandu to wrest it from her. In theee meanwhile Biniya's Umbrella gets stolen,but how through her intelligence Biniya finds the umbrella & makes the thief to repent & realise his/her mistake forms the rest of the story.
The film is great in terms of the suspense regarding the thief & stands out due to its emotional phase depicting loneliness & struggle due to social outcast. The camera angles are sometimes taken from a character's perspective which makes it interesting & works in combination with the background score to enhance the emotions. There are several scenes which takes your heart away like the scene in which Biniya finds that her umbrella has been lost ,the scene in which Nandu explains the reason of his obsession towards the umbrella,the marriage procession in the village where Nadu is ousted,the umbrella struck in the bus door. There is a lot of humor in the movie through the interactions of Tikku (Played by Rahul Kumquatatatat) the helper in the shop & Nandu and even through Masterji & his wife Lillavawell. PankajPankaj Kapur does a valiantjob once again as the pahadi man with a sweet accent & the lonely old man in later part of the movie. Shreyaas a first timer comes up with a mature performance as required ,while the marvelous looking umbrella which opens up in a lovely circle is treated as the real protagonist in the movie.
Since it has a strong moral value at the end , its a great way to introduce the art of cinema to children! It can take you back to your "Malgudi days" kind of cinema & holds good for people from today's generation as well .The lyrics penned by Gulzar & music given by Vishal himself is soft & refreshing & compliments the scenic beauty of Himachal .As this is a movie which is watched or even heard by a few , my suggestion is to enjoy this on weekend on a DVD with your kids & family.
Trivia:The movie has won the National Film Award for Best Children's film in 2006.It is a 90 minute movie distributed by UTV classics & comes from the director of Makdee, Maqbool, Kaminey, Saat Khoon Maaf.


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