Chekka Chivantha Vaanam review: All about family feud, greed, thirst for power and revenge!
Mani Ratnam ditches his usual style and creates a slick action film with a brilliant cast
Critic's Rating: 4/5
Thursday 27 September 2018
Chekka Chivantha Vaanam
Vijay Sethupathy, Prakash Raj, STR, Arvind Swami. Arun Vijay
Mani Ratnam is back with a bang in Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, an intense crime action drama set against family feud, greed, thirst for power and revenge. Having said that, the director has also moved out of his usual style and made this one as a slick action film, giving up his trademark songs, romance and sentiments.
The film begins with Inspector Rasool’s (Vijay Sethupathi) voiceover, he says that like a snake, Chennai city sheds its skin and appear differently in every ten years. Today’s gangster has many names—Industrialist, educationalist, real estate kingpin, sand-mining mafia and then Senapathy (Prakash Raj) who is shown heading to temple with his wife (Jayasudha).
On their way back home, both Senapathy and his wife are attacked by two henchmen in police uniform. Immediately the news reaches Varadhan (Arvind Swamy), the first son of Senapathy as he is the one who takes care of his father’s business and dirty jobs in Chennai. As both his parents are brutally attacked, Varathan calls his two brothers—Thyagu (Arun Vijay) and Ethi (STR) who are taking care of the family business in Dubai and Serbia respectively. While Varathan and Thyagu are married to Chitra (Jyothika) and Renu (Aishwarya Rajesh), Ethi is in love with Chaya (Dayana).
When the two brothers reach Chennai, they are on the mission to pin down the two people who attacked their parents with Rasool's help. When things are back to normal Senapathy is discharged from the hospital, and both the brothers return back. But Senapathy who was recovering fast, passes away due to a sudden heart attack. The brothers then start fighting among each other to find out who killed Senapathy and to occupy his throne!
The biggest strength of Chekka Chivantha Vaanam is the casting. Strong performances from this ensemble: All the four protagonists-Arvind Swamy, STR, Arun Vijay, and Vijay Sethupathi has equal scope and they have delivered their best. Among the four, Vijay Sethupathy has the best one-liners and is the real hero while Arvind Swamy has more screen space. STR is top class as owns his scenes with natural swag and screen presence while Arun Vijay shines as the classy yet deadly Dubai based businessman.
STR’s ability to perform intense scenes is evident in the emotional conversation with his mom in the second half. Throughout the film, we get the feel that Vijay Sethupathi's character is under-utilised but he is the show stealer in the climax!
The women in Chekka Chivantha Vaanam have been only showcased as collateral damages for the sin committed by men. Jayasudha had to see her three sons fighting and baying for each others blood. Jyothika has to run away and struggle like a refugee because of Arvind Swamy and put up with Aditi Rao Hydari who is her husband's concubine. Aishwarya Rajesh and Dayana are also victims because of their husbands played by Arun Vijay and STR. Among the five women Jyothika is the best while Aditi Rao Hydari’s character is unwanted to the plot!
As usual, Rahman has reserved his best for Mani Ratnam. The Bhoomi track which has been used throughout the film raises the tempo and in terms of background score, one can easily say that it is his best work in recent times. Santosh Sivan’s camera captures the mood of each character, his lighting and shot divisions will be followed in the upcoming crime dramas in Tamil cinema. Even in Serbia and Dubai, Santosh Sivan’s lens focuses on the characters and not the picturesque locations. Editor Sreekar Prasad has once again proved that he is the best in the business.
On the downside there is no Mani Ratnam style romance, song pictusation or chemistry between anyone in the film-be it among brothers, couples or parents and children. In the end, we wish the plot had more depth, as the film stays on the surface.
Despite being a multi-starrer, the runtime is just perfect, special mention to the end credits which is in the form of the investigation report. Overall, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam is easily Mani Ratnam’s best work in recent time. He has crafted a powerful film that you won’t be able to shake off immediately.
Chekka Chivantha Vaanam review- Verdict: Engaging
Reactions from Social Media:
Ashameera Aiyappan @aashameera
#ChekkaChivanthaVaanam is KICK ASS. A complete revenge saga, that makes the best use of @thearvindswami, @arunvijayno1 and #Simbu. But @VijaySethuOffl. people who kept saying #ManiRatnam has lost his touch, #CCV is your answer.
Harish kalyan @iamharishkalyan
Jus watched d #fdfs at kasi ..! Semma response for #CCV Balanced weightage for everyone .... with a fitting climax. Thalaivan #STR rocked as #Ethi so did everyone else. #ChekkaChivaanthaVaanam
Sreedhar Pillai @sri50
#ChekkaChivanthaVaanam 3.5/5. Riveting & Racy, Pure Vintage #ManiRatnam. where he has concentrated more on story & plotline. A multi-starrer where every male star has shades of grey & gets their equal share of screen space. Super Climax. Among ladies #Jyotika has the better role.
S Abishek @cinemapayyan
#CCV at @RohiniSilverScr
Padam illa, pattasu!
Half way through and the war has barely started.
#ManiRatnam for the gallery
Every single character shines
Kaushik LM @LMKMovieManiac
#ChekkaChivanthaVaanam #CCV -Welcome return to the gritty gangster genre for #ManiRatnam. Multi-hero film in the true sense of the word. Keep making such films sir. Liked the 2nd half much much more compared to the 1st. 3.5/5.. #STR #VijaySethupathi @arunvijayno1 @thearvindswami
Vinish vini @ketta_vini
First half - Veritanam
Second half Ku semma lead. If second half is quick n racy as first half then this film is an blockbuster. after so many years for manirathnam.#CCV #CCVReview
Jeya Suriya @MSPMovieManiac
Done with first half of #CCVPacked and Engaging!Not even a single dull momentIf the film travels in the same pace on the latter half - undoubtedly a winner!
Kollywood Headmaster @KollywoodHM
#ChekkaChivaanthaVaanam / #CCV Maniratnam modifies his narrative style and the screenplay is at top notch. ARR's BGM is the main pillar for this multistar cast. All the characters are portrayed with a neat and meaty role for them. #Ethi and #Rasool are making fans go crazy.
End of first half .This is what we expected from d genius #ManiRatnam. All d main leads outplayed their char in their own style. @arrahman Bgm summa therikudhu.#CCV