Story & Narration
Technical Aspects & Music
A sublime action drama that'll be remembered for ages.
Chekka Chivantha Vaanam is a first class return from Mani Ratnam who arrives like a king with one of his best films ever. There's an arresting narration which holds you by the throat and makes it rewarding experience. Remember to switch off your phone and get engrossed, you'll be stumped at the end.
Cast: Simbu, Vijay Sethupathi, Arun Vijay, Arvind Swami, Prakashraj, Jyotika, Aishwarya Rajesh, Aditi Rao Hydari, Dayana Erappa, Jayasudha, Thiagrajan, Mansoor Ali Khan & others
Camera: Santosh Sivan
Music: AR Rahman
Editing: Sreekar Prasad
Production Designer: Sharmishta Roy
Stunts: Dilip Subbarayan
Written & Directed by: Maniratnam
Produced by: Madras Talkies & Lyca Productions
Release Date: 27-09-2018
There is a reason why there are very few filmmakers like Mani Ratnam in this world. The veteran might have taken a break from his intense, action-packed films after Ravanan, but here he is – back with a riveting spectacle in Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. The film has so many shining points in the form of a never-seen-before star cast, strong technical finesse and great music, but what actually makes it win is Mani Ratnam’s work on paper. It’s a sign of a writer who has been holding in this script for quite a while, unveiling it at the right time with the right people in hand.
And one can say this with surety, because of the film’s ability to throw in a ‘wow’ at every tenth minute in the second half. Even though there are a ton of characters with each being an important element in the storyline, there’s no swaying or overshadowing, which indicates the brilliance and the maturity level with which the premise has been handled. Through the lens of Santhosh Sivan, Mani Ratnam not only tells gives us a narrative that hits our guts, but also finds unique and innovative ways to put the matter across. Chekka Chivantha Vaanam is a perfect example of ‘how’ a story should be told, along with paying equal importance to ‘what’ is being told.
Mani Ratnam has always played around with the formula of different spaces, be it romance or gangster or terrorism. In this film, he takes the idea of an intense family feud and gives it the much needed ‘mass’ twist, making it more widely accessible. Apart from all the drama, there’s a layer of front-row excitement that Chekka Chivantha Vaanam carries, which makes it a film worthy of repeat watches in theaters. The entire film begins from a single incident right at the start, and rolls out like a pack of dominoes right until the shivering and stunning climax that the director pulls out of the hat.
Arvind Swami once again proves his rapport with Mani Ratnam, as he comes to the fore with a terrific performance that’ll be remembered in the years to come. There are two superb stretches in the second half that are a staunchly example for his reach as an actor. STR and Arun Vijay are at their stylish best, and contribute great performances in their own trademark style. But the real show stealer here is Vijay Sethupathy, whose role is the backbone of the film. He executes it with style and an organic sense of humor, making it a memorable show in his graph. Of all the women, Jyothika comes to the fore with a rooted act that deserves appreciation, while the others don’t have much to do in the motive of the film.
Just like every other movie in their combination, Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman create magic with their work on the music. A total of 9 songs and interesting BGM cues are masterfully used in the narrative, without hampering the flow of the film. Santosh Sivan’s cinematography comes off with tremendous frames and shot compositions to accommodate the huge starcast that the film possesses.
In totality, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam is a first class return from Mani Ratnam who arrives like a king with one of his best films ever. There’s an arresting narration which holds you by the throat and makes it rewarding experience. Remember to switch off your phone and get engrossed, you’ll be stumped at the end.