Most mainstream films eulogising on the man-animal bond elaborate on the animal's undying love for his/her master. In 777 Charlie, the focus is on the human (Rakshit Shetty) and the efforts he takes to fulfil his pet's dying wish...sounds incredibly trite, doesn't it? You might well ask how it was possible for the hero here to determine that wish.
In the film we see the baby Labrador rolling ecstatically on dry ice and like our hero, we will have to accept that that's signal enough to come to a conclusion that our lovable and oh-so adorable Charlie loves the snow!
The hero is not much of a hero in the initial stages of the film. Having lost his parents and sister when he was nearing his preteens, the orphan boy turns into a people and animal hater as an adult. No chit-chat with the neighbours, no small talk - just living the life of a sloth in a messy house and his own lonesome self for company.
Even as a machinist in a factory, he stays within himself and keeps to the surly and rude routine. The decidedly anti-social, Dharma (Rakshit Shetty) begins metamorphosing into a more rounded individual when an adorable abandoned light beige hued labrador walks into his life and heart.
Though it isn't love at first sight, they learn to accept each other eventually. And just when you think it's gonna be a happily ever after, the narrative hits you smack in the face with a terminal illness.
No, not Dharma, it's Charlie who is ill and Dharma takes up the challenge of taking Charlie all the way to the extreme north of India to experience some snow.
A few subplots involving a little neighbour kid who eventually worms her way into our surly hero's good books, a jocular veterinarian who cons Dharma into keeping Charlie and a lady volunteer Devika (Sangeetha Sringeri) from the animal welfare board - following Dharma around as though she has nothing better to do - add to the extreme silliness of this enterprise.
The acting style of the human performers is typically clichéd and antics laden, the runtime is way too long at over two hours and dragging-the-narrative-down kind of tedium and the editing could have been sharper and more economical.
Charlie Impresses All The Way
But if you can overlook the far-flung fantasy route, the stupidity that some of the characters indulge in here and the rather ridiculous storyline, this film does manage to tug at your heartstrings. The cinematography is eye-catching and inviting but the major attraction here is Charlie. All credit to the adorable Labrador who makes acting in a film seem so simple and easy.
But of course, the production is sure to claim that the trainer should get equal credit for training the pup to go through the motions of growing up while living the life of a scavenging stray, getting domesticated, going through spontaneous abortion pains, frolicking around in near freezing temperatures in knee deep snow while being on his last legs and eventually leaving the heartbroken hero with a ray of hope for the future.
Enjoy this film!