After a disastrous dud with the previous outing, Mani Ratnam is well and truly back to his Nayakan days with Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. From the day the trailer of this multi-starrer hit YouTube, there had been a lot of intrigue surrounding it. A huge and powerful star cast consisting of Vijay Sethupathi, Arvind Swamy, Jyothika, Arun Vijay, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rajesh and T.R. Silambarasan meant that there would be lot of questions surrounding how well they were utilized and who scored the brownie points. If it were any other director/writer it would have been risky business but not for Mani Ratnam. Add to all this, when you have the magic of the Santosh Sivan canvas and A.R. Rahman music pepping up every single scene with some powerful BGM you have an instant classic.
The story premise is thus: When there is an attempted murder at an aging don Senapathy(Prakash Raj) and his wife, his three sons Vardan (Arvind Swamy), Thyagu (Arun Vijay) and Ethi (Silambarasan) joins forces to find out the mastermind behind it. Armed with the ambition to be the sole heir to their father’s throne, a power struggle ensues between the three brothers. Rasool (Vijay Sethupathy), a Police Inspector with charming, yet debatable character is roped in by his childhood buddy Vardan to try and seize the upper hand over his brothers as well as other fellow dons. The ever charming Jyothika plays Chitra, the eldest daughter-in-law of the family, while Jayasudha plays the heart-broken mother who tries to talk sense into whole family. What ensues is a hard hitting, thriller which has a family as the premise but is more of a gangster movie than a family drama.
It’s an ode to how great Mani Ratnam is, the way he handled the huge star-cast, giving them all, powerful and meaningful characters. Almost every single charter has shades of grey and we the audience are torn in our understanding of good and evil. Arvind Swamy, Jyothika, Arun Vijay and T.R. Silambarasan all, respectively, gave one of their best performances in my recent memory and yet it was Vijay Sethupathi who was the cherry on top of the cake. If one were to say that his performance outdid all the other stunning performances that were delivered throughout the movie, it wouldn’t be too much off the mark. It just goes to show how much Vijay Sethupathy has grown in stature in the industry as an actor.
I recommend that you should not miss CCV if you a fan of at least one, if not all of Mani Ratnam, AR Rahman, Santosh Sivan, Vijay Sethupathy, Arvind Swamy, Silambarasan, Jyothika or even plain good thriller-gangster movies. There are so many brilliant, poignant, meaningful scenes throughout the movie that left me dissecting the movie hours after done watching it.