By Anonymous (04 Sep 2010)
Chai Pani etc, set essentially in Delhi and Jaisalmer, is the comic coming of age story of Satya (Zafar Karachiwala), a young, idealistic, US returned filmmaker. Satya is torn between his commitment to his old girlfriend, the fun loving, ambitious fashion designer Radha (Konkona Sensharma – Best Actress 2003 in India), who is selected for a top design school in London, and his newly found attraction, Radha's classmate from fashion school, the elegant Shanti (Konkona Sensharma in a double role) who works in an NGO (a charity). Between falling in love and making films Satya also struggles against corrupt and hypocritical bureaucrats who try to force him to cut images of poor children from his award-winning documentary film. Adding to the chaos is Satya's aunt (Sinia Jain) who plans to get him married to a traditional Punjabi girl, and his hedonistic friend and advisor Harish (Gaurav Kapoor) who lives life king size in the real world of corruption. Satya is confronted by dishonesty in both public and personal relationships. He has to make a choice - will he hold on to his moralistic attitude or will he bend over? A strong feature of the story is that all characters have their compulsions and none is completely black or white. For example Harish has his "good" side, he is a warm and true friend, Shanti her "dark" side, she can be bitchy in order to get what she wants. Though much of what is "exposed" in the film is known, this story endeavors to link the major corruption - the kind that makes headlines and which is usually represented on film - with a more everyday kind of corruption and its link to censorship and poverty, all of which are so banal in the Indian context that they are hardly noticed. What this everyday type of corruption, censorship and acceptance of poverty does to the psyche of young middle class people living in major Indian cities and their life choices is the real subject of the film.