To Let review: A powerful film with superb visuals

Kudos to Chezhiyan to make a movie like this at a time when all his contemporaries are focusing on commercial masala movies!

Source: SIFY


Critic's Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday 04 June 2019

Movie Title

To Let review: A powerful film with superb visuals



Star Cast

Santhosh Sreeram, Sheela, Dharun, Athira

R Chezhiyan’s To Let  begins with the happy faces of two mid-aged couple Ilango and Amudha (Santhosh Sreeram and Sheela Raj Kumar) who return to their tiny home with their little son Siddharth (Dharun). Amudha thanks Ilango for taking her and the kid for the outing, they exchange love. Just when Amudha enters the kitchen and immerses into cooking by playing a melody number in her favorite radio, she gets a message that the house owner wants to meet her and throws a huge bomb that they have to vacate the house. 

Even before the first scene, Chezhiyan mentions that the story takes place in 2007, the year when the IT industry started booming in Chennai and how the house rentals shot up to sky level that middle-class people had to undergo a huge struggle. 

Ilango is a struggling story writer in Tamil cinema and to make ends meet, he does odd jobs like developing concepts for advertisements and dubs for unrealistic stunt scenes in films. Chezhiyan takes us back to the old school middle class families where the wife maintains the income and expenditure account. The only form of money in middle-class families is cash and they don’t really use debit/credit cards.

To Let captures the harsh reality of people who struggle on a daily basis and how an industry which becomes a big boon to the economy of the country acts as a huge setback for a normal middle-class family! Films like To Let tells us that most of us actually are blessed with a happy life and there are millions of people out there who are getting up knowing that they have a battle despite repeatedly falling down! There is a particular scene when Amudha comes out after the bathroom only to know that the house owner has brought a new tenant to see their place and she immediately locks her down. Another tenant checks out the locker and a bunch of sanitary pads falls on the floor, which tells us how your privacy will be invaded just because you don’t have an own house in Chennai!

But To Let is not filled with sad faces, Chezhiyan also captured the small happy moments that happen in Ilango’s family. Yes, Amudha is upset and shouts at Ilango often for being in the temporary showbiz industry but she also encourages him when he was about to sell his script for the livelihood. Both the husband and wife visit several houses but the small kid converts the hurdle into a joyous occasion by narrating the whole process of entering the elevator and visiting various rental places.

To Let is not a film with twists and turns but we almost come towards the edge of the seat to know whether Ilango and family get a place to live or not? This is indeed the biggest success of Chezhiyan, he slowly attracts and put us into the tiny house of Ilango, makes us travel along with him and his family throughout the film. At the end of the film, we only pray for the family to get a peaceful life and a good place. The beauty of To Let lies in the small realistic elements added by Chezhiyan. In his life, both Amudhan and Ilango never wanted to hurt others but the demand for rental properties in Chennai forces them to tell a lie which turns their life upside down.

Santhosh Sreeram and Sheela are perfect as the lovely couple who have their own extreme heated arguments and intimate romance. Their towering performance is the film’s biggest strength and the small boy Dharun has also done a commendable job in the film whereas Athira who acted as the cruel house owner is brilliant!

Chezhiyan’s shots convey a lot of meaningful things in the film. Being a cinematographer himself, Chezhiyan’s lights and angles actually takes the story forward, the climax shot where the shadow falls on Amudha’s face and Ilango who waits outside by kick-starting his bike, again and again, tells us that the struggle of the family continues. The film only ends there not their struggle! Chezhiyan delivers the film without background score. Instead, he used top-class sound design to narrate his story.

Kudos to Chezhiyan to make a movie like this at a time when all his contemporaries are focusing on commercial masala movies!

To Let review: Must Watch

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