Chekka Chivantha Vaanam Review: Where Mani Ratnam plays to the gallery
Amidst tremendous hype, the ace Mani Ratnam’s multi-starrer ‘Chekka Chivantha Vaanam’ (CCV) hit screens last day. Clearly inspired from Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather series, CCV is all about sibling rivalry and bloodshed. Let’s jump into the review in detail.
Senapathi (Prakash Raj) is this powerful don who gets attacked by a gang and is forced to be bed-ridden. He has three sons – Varadan (Arvind Swamy), Thyagu (Arun Vijay) and Ethi (Simbu), who all have an eye on Senapathi’s chair. While Varadan is a hot-headed gangster, Thyagu is a sophisticated businessman based in Dubai. Ethi, the last of the sons, is involved in arms trafficking and other criminal activities in Serbia. Then there is Rasool Ibrahim (Vijay Sethupathi), a suspended cop, who is close to the family. After Senapathi’s fall, a gang war breaks out for his position. Who eventually has the last laugh? That’s it about the plot.
It’s the classic case of sibling rivalry that we have seen in the Mahabharathas and the Baahubalis. But still CCV is neatly packaged with enough commercial elements to please a commoner. What the movie lacks is the trademark Mani Ratnam touches. The master is known for his ability to churn out characters and moments that evoke an emotional connect with the audience. CCV sorely lacks it as it follows a mundane path for most part of its run-time.
After establishing the characters, the tension within the household is built gradually with some heated talkie portions. The one particular sequence involving the three sons and their parents was beautifully staged and it was followed by another poignant scene involving the old couple. The interval block also comes at the right moment leaving us piqued with curiosity. It is in the latter half where things begin to go wayward with quite a few bland moments.
The characters of Aishwarya Rajesh, Thyagarajan and Aditi Rao Hydari add nothing much to the plot. They are there just for the sake of it, something one doesn’t normally expect from a Mani Ratnam film. The director is known for his fine sense of visual aesthetics but here in CCV, it looks like he solely concentrated on the story-telling part. There are several loose ends in the narrative and often question the sensibilities of the audience. With such an ensemble cast, it is evident that the director wanted to play it the galleries.
Coming to the performances, all the four male lead actors have done their parts well. While Arvind Swamy carries the infuriated attitude all the time, he gets his moment in an emotional sequence towards the end where he nails it to perfection. Arun Vijay is remarkably good as Thyagu. His character has several shades and is a tough nut to crack. Simbu has performed well in a well-written character. Him along with the ever-dependable Vijay Sethupathi bring in the lighter moments and they both shine throughout. Among the female actors, only Jyothika and Jayasudha have meaty roles and they have done justice to their parts.
The way Mani Ratnam has used AR Rahman’s songs and score is highly impressive. All the songs are used in bits and pieces, and are all woven cleverly around the narrative. Rahman’s background score is among his finest works in recent times. Santhosh Sivan’s cinematography is rich and commercial, something on the lines of his own Thuppakki and Anjaan.
Final word – CCV is perhaps the Mani Ratnam film with the least of his trademark elements. The veteran has gone fully commercial here to come up with a gritty gangster drama. A simple action-packed gangster flick that boasts of a stellar star cast