QUICKVIEW : Chekka Chivantha Vaanam

By Rinku  Gupta
CCV as its popularly known, is the latest offering from ace director Mani Ratnam. The story is set around the impending death of ganglord Senapathy ( Prakash Raj) who is injured critically in an a shootout, along with his wife (Jayasudha). His 3 sons, Varadan, ( Arvind Swami), Thyagu ( Arun Vijay) and Ethi ( Simbu) rush to his bedside. While the eldest resides with him along with wife Chitra ( Jyothika), Thyagu flies in from Dubai with his wife (Aishwarya Rajesh) while Ethi flies down from Serbia leaving behind his pretty wife ( Dayana Erappa). The family’s main concern is to probe into who is behind the attempt to kill. When finally Senapathy dies a few days later, the tension increases with each son beginning to suspect the other in a game of one-up-manship to take over the vacant throne. Rasool, ( Vijay Sethupathi) is the one link with all three, being the childhood trusted buddy of Varadan. When things begin to get out of hand, with each brother gunning for the other as the level of suspicion goes sky-high, Rasool plays an integral role in how things pan out between them.
Do they finally discover who tried to kill their father? How does the revealation affect the family ? How much do they lose or gain by discovering the truth forms the story.
What works for the film are the stellar performances by all actors. Vijay Sethupathi  is at his inimitable best while one can get to see a very different handsome , suave Simbu, speaking with his eyes and subte expressions, cast in the Mani Ratnam mould. Arvind Swami gets some very emotional scenes and action blocks which he uses to advantage. Arun Vijay delivers a good, measured performance and his career best, as the ambitious son. The women are strong but caught up in the cross fire of rage and intrigue of the men. Jayasudha leads with a regal performance, making you wish to see more of her on screen while Jyothika  looking beautiful, rises to the occasion as the dutiful wife. Her scenes with Simbu and Jyothika especially make for a good watch. Jyothika plays the dynamic and dutiful daughter-in-law holding the family together despite Varadan having an affair with a journalist (an ethereal Aditi Rao Hydari in a teeny role) with aplomb. Aishwarya Rajesh looks a pretty picture of dignity and determination, a devoted wife and mother caught up in the crossfire of ambition. Dayana Erappa makes her presence felt but her role seems too brief. Prakash Raj as the don is every inch the patriarch with the regal bearing and in complete command till he is rendered helpless.
The songs are used as BGM in most parts, adding to the escaling tension or showing the powerplay between the parties concerned. The  excellent visuals by Santhosh Sivan ( especially the chase in Serbia and the climax scenes) and the various settings of the film, ( the glass facaded home of the don) add to the drama and the vulnerability of the characters, while making for aesthetic viewing at the same time.
While the film keeps you engaged, with some remarkable rabbits out  of the hat in the climax, the lack of connect with the characters stands out. One views them and their problems from afar but barring a few moments here and there, there seems to be a disconnect somewhere.  Also, the frequent gun fights don’t seem to fit in with the local character of the city where aruvas are usually more in use.
With fast paced action, plenty of drama and good performances , the aesthetically appealing CCV makes for a good watch overall.

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