The first time Gautham Menon and AR Rahman got together, we got one of the best albums to come out this century. It is perfect for a romantic film such as Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya. From the love at first sight in Hosanna to the growing intimacy in Omana Penne, Rahman is at the top of his game. These songs work on their own but the visuals make it even more memorable. A big reason for this is the staging and framing that Gautham Menon excels in. It is a film that made all of us wish we were in love and for that, I would like to thank the maestro for giving us songs that are evergreen, emotional and most of all excellent.
There is a particular feeling that I get whenever I watch a Mani Ratnam film. I guess it could be described as contentment. But it does not stop there as it goes on to spark this discussion within myself and with others. I want to talk about the various aspects of the film and that for me is the hallmark of a film by the master. As for Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, there is a lot to talk about. It ranges from the technical details to the scenes that made it and some that should have made it. But one thing was clear to me seeing the film, this is Mani Ratnam reinventing himself. Even a filmmaker as famed as himself is not above criticism and there were a few aspects that I did not like about his previous film. To see him go in a more commercial vein, feels exhilarating. This is his way of showing that he can make a film that is more crowd pleasing and yet have his own flourishes in them.
As for the film, this is one of the more intriguing films that Mani Sir has made since the turn of the millennium. I read a review that said the film would have worked better if it had been made in two parts and I’m inclined to agree with that line of thought. These characters are fascinating from the outset, so it would have been nice to explore them a little more. It is to the credit of the screenplay that we are left wanting more. The film manages to feel like both a throwback to the Nayagan and Thalapthi days but it feels fresh. If this is the direction that Mani Ratnam is going to go in, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
PS: It is genuinely heartening to see this crimson sky turn into box-office gold.