‘Chambal’ review: Sathish Ninasam shines as an upright IAS officer in this thriller

Most films follow a clichéd formula when it comes to narrating a good vs evil story, but director Jacob Varghese manages to keep it realistic.
‘Chambal’ review: Sathish Ninasam shines as an upright IAS officer in this thriller
‘Chambal’ review: Sathish Ninasam shines as an upright IAS officer in this thriller
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The very name Chambal, made famous by dacoits, can send a shiver down one’s spine. All thanks to Bollywood films, the name is synonymous with loot, robbery and atrocities. The Chambal valley has, for decades, been home to generations of outlaws. But now times have changed, people there have changed, and it is not a tainted land anymore. However, the level of atrocity in the form of corruption and land grabbing has now spread across the country and the makers of the film Chambal have tried to explore one such act of barbarism through the eyes of an IAS officer.

The film, however, landed in controversy after a few people argued that late IAS officer DK Ravi’s story was part of the film. Ravi’s parents had even filed a petition demanding a ban on the release of the film. Though the makers have outrightly denied it, one can find shades of his character throughout the film, including in the climax.

Sathish Ninasam (Subhash) is an IAS officer posted as the deputy commissioner in an infamous town. He is upright, courageous and empathetic, which automatically makes him the people’s favourite. But with his vigilance and bravery, he becomes a threat to realtors and their illegal dealings. When he decides to take the tough road, he ends up trapped inside a vicious web that also has top politicians and bureaucrats. Will he be able to claw his way out of the system and escape from the poisonous tentacles to establish a corrupt-free society is what Chambal is all about.

The film tries to show the life of IAS officers in a realistic manner. The harassment they face, the transfer issues, their helplessness amidst corruption is all shown candidly. The first half introduces several characters and they all merge to take on the honest IAS officer in the second half.

Good prevailing over evil is every filmmaker’s favourite story. Most film industries follow a clichéd formula when it comes to narrating this story – a macho cop or hero sweating it out, flexing his muscles, and thrashing the goons black and blue, with cars and SUVs flying around. But, Sathish as Subhash keeps it grounded and this makes the film very close to reality.

With an ingeniously layered role and a brilliant performance, Sathish steals the show as an IAS officer. Sathish has always been a common man’s hero and this movie proves that he can carry any role with ease. Starting with Lucia, he has always chosen different roles and this one is no exception. He knows he is not a mass hero and strictly sticks to his base while thoroughly entertaining with the content.

Sonu Gowda, in a de-glam avatar as Sathish’s wife, has very less screen space and that is justified. Except for Sathish, most characters in the film have negative shade. Actors Roger Narayan, Achyuth Kumar, Sardar Sathya, Mahantesh and Pawan Kumar, who play different characters with negative shades, help lift the movie with their performances. Kishore’s cameo is one of the biggest highlights of the film.

Director Jacob Varghese, who is known for true-to-life films, delivers another engaging tale with Chambal. He gets all the elements right and weaves a tale with strong content, and passes with flying colours when it comes to execution. The only place the film loses momentum is the romantic track and songs, which seem unwarranted. However, the powerful background score complements the pace.

The movie keeps you hooked for the entire 110 minutes and I recommend it for anyone who loves to watch realistic movies.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film’s producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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