In Bollywood and beyond, there have been many Indian movies wherein the protagonist undergoes the journey of self-discovery, 777 Charlie is a fresh take on it as it shows the transformation through canine companionship. Written and directed by Kiranraj K, 777 Charlie follows the bonding between a runaway Labrador and a lonely factory worker and how it changes the latter’s grim outlook on life.
777 Charlie movie review
The film begins with the puppy escaping a vicious dog breeder; surviving the mean streets, and fending off the fish market― all leading up to following our loner of a hero in Dharma (Rakshit Shetty).
Dharma (Rakshit Shetty) plays the kind of guy neighbours and kids don’t want to be around – alone, aloof, and anxious; one knob differentiated from anger. Annoyance comes easy to him, even from a ringing doorbell. Why he is the way he is, takes layers of unpeeling and comes through when a runaway dog enters his life. They don’t strike off at first as Dharma has no interest in keeping the dog but as you may guess it, a series of occurrences leads up to the friendship between the two. This transformation that happens between them is something easy to fall for.
The characters, even those with a short screen time, are aptly written and help advance the story― Raj B Shetty as the vet, Sangeetha Sringeri as the animal welfare worker, Bobby Simha as the dog lover or Danish Sait as the journalist but it is Adrika, the little girl next door, who makes you chuckle or cry at momentary notice. The Director of Photography, Arvind Kashyap, flawlessly captures the story on celluloid.
How Charlie leads Dharma back into society, one step at a time forms the core of the plot. And the screenplay connects these dots organically ― embedding people and later places in their adventurous road trip. The movie touches upon pet adoption, overcoming anxiety, but most importantly, companionship.
Every wide-eyed gaze, funny antic and background score synchronizes as the story progresses. It helps that the dog is at the center of this universe and credits to the director for keeping the lead actor as the second fiddle. Rakshit rightfully realizes this and delivers a standout performance.
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The Kannada language film has been dubbed in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. It has quickly raked up the rankings and we can easily say that 777 Charlie is one of the better dog movies made in India.
Parallels with Mahabharata
The movie has a symbolic homage to Mahabharata’s Yudhisthir story. Atop the snow capped mountains, the climax of the film draws heavily from the epic. In Mahabharata, the Hindu epic, Yudhisthira is accompanied by a dog when he is at the doorstep of Heaven, Lord Indra says that he will not be allowed with the dog, and Yudhisthira refuses and intends to turn back, just then it is revealed that it was a test and dog was Lord Dharma (custodian of duty). Yudhishthira is also called Dharmaraaj because of his adherence to duty. Rakhshit’s character being named Dharma is a nod to the same.
A surge in the Labrador breed’s popularity post the release of 777 Charlie
For a movie that champions #AdoptDontShop against unethical breeding, it is ironic that it ended up raising the demand for Labrador pups. The ‘villains’ in the movie were in-breeders and the practice would stop as demand vanes down. Perhaps those inspired by 777 Charlie need to rewatch the climax where Dharma sets up an animal rescue center and not a Labrador breeding mill.
As with Hutch/Vodafone’s commercials featuring the pug back in the day, there has been a spike in the demand for Labradors after the release of the film. The core message of the film was against unethical breeding, and it is ironic how that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. One can only wonder what it would do to the adoption rate of desi pups if prominent stars and movies feature them as pets.
777 Charlie OTT Release
777 Charlie is a runaway success at the box office, 100 crore+ and counting. Rakshit announced in a press conference that about five percent of the profit will be donated to the NGOs working for the welfare of rescue dogs across the country. 777 Charlie will have the OTT premier on Voot Select and will be available for streaming on the platform from July 29. The Karnataka government declared the movie tax-free in the state.