Verdict: A super engaging and thrilling film with some brilliant performances.
Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (CCV) Mani Ratnam’s latest directorial is all about a family feud, betrayal, greed, revenge, and gunshots. The film has been produced by Mani Ratnam and A. Subaskaran under the banners Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions respectively. CCV stars Arvind Swami, Vijay Sethupathi, Jyothika, Prakash Raj, Silambarasan (STR), Arun Vijay, Jayasudha, Thiagarajan, Aishwarya Rajesh, Dayana Erappa, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Mansoor Ali Khan as the ensemble cast. It also features some extremely talented names behind the scenes including Santosh Sivan, Sreekar Prasad, and AR Rahman.
What’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam About:
Chekka Chivantha Vaanam revolves around Senapathy (Prakash Raj), a powerful gangster in Chennai, and his family. Senapathy and his wife (Jayasudha) are attacked by two men on their way back home from a temple and are severely injured. This incident reunites his three sons Varadan (Arvind Swamy), Thyagu (Arun Vijay) and Ethi (STR) who are working for their father and taking care of the business in Chennai, Dubai, and Serbia respectively. While Varadan is aggressive, Thyagu is calm, smart and intelligent, Ethi considers himself to be the black sheep of the family. The brothers are furious about the situation and want to hunt down the culprit while Rasool, (Vijay Sethupathi), a suspended police officer and Varadan’s childhood buddy, helps them in their mission. The prime suspect is Chinnappadas (Thiagarajan), Senapathi’s immediate rival, but after he constantly denies the allegation, they suspect all the close connections, including each other.
Mani Ratnam is one of the very few movie makers in Indian cinema who could make a gangster movie with much ease and he has reaffirmed it with Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. It is not surprising if you find the attack on Senapathy, him having three sons and a daughter, and Ethi’s life and marriage in Serbia way too similar to The Godfather – well that could be done purposely because as it gets deeper, you would realize the plot leads to a different outcome altogether. The lead actors have their mass intros, dialogues, scenes and equal importance without going flat and making it too long. Arvind Swamy and Arun Vijay are equally good and have their job done well but Vijay Sethupathi and STR undoubtedly steal the show. Vijay Sethupathi’s character might look underutilized throughout, as he probably is someone who isn’t directly involved in the cat and mouse game. This perspective abruptly changes towards the end. He, in fact, plays it cool and retains his swag. STR has a great come back with some mass action scenes, expressions, and sentimental scenes. Of all the women, Jyothika is the only prominent female actor in the film and has handled her role really well with maturity and grace. AR Rahman’s music is fabulous as is the background score. Santosh Sivan’s focuses more on human faces and expressions than just the beautiful locations. Sreekar Prasad’s scene transition is smooth. With these names, it is obvious that the movie’s technical side is bound to be brilliant.
What Could Have Been Better:
Except for Jyothika, no other female actor has much to do in the movie than just remain the victims of their husbands’ sins. The storyline seems to be a little predictable in places. Having said that, the film not only scores well on narration but also makes you think about the possible outcomes.
Why You Should Watch:
There are umpteen reasons to watch Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. Mani Ratnam’s magic is a major reason to watch this film; Prakash Raj, Arvind Swamy, STR, Vijay Sethupathi, and Arun Vijay are another. There are so many more reasons we want to list down but it’s best if you check it for yourself.