'Mr Chandramouli' review: A half-hearted drama with unconvincing performances

For how much longer will people fall in love at first sight in Tamil cinema?
'Mr Chandramouli' review: A half-hearted drama with unconvincing performances
'Mr Chandramouli' review: A half-hearted drama with unconvincing performances
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‘Mr Chandramouli!’ is a popular Tamil film reference from the eighties. Karthik, who played an extended cameo in Mani Ratnam’s Mouna Ragam, popularised this name and specifically the modulation in which he delivers it.

In that famous coffee shop scene, Karthik calls out to Revathy’s father, played by Ra Sankaran, who goes by the name Chandramouli. Interestingly, a little over three decades later, Karthik plays the father named Chandramouli in Mr Chandramouli alongside his son Gautham Karthik. But, the reference to the iconic ‘Mr Chandramouli!’ from the eighties stops here.

The makers released a four-minute sneak peek to this film last week, the scene where the father and son are at the car showroom. While the clip did not give away the story, it did show us the father-son relationship the two would share in the film. This is something the director could have perfected, given that they are real-life father and son. Their on-screen portrayal, however, seems very superficial.

Raghav (Gautham Karthik) is a boxer who lives with his father Chandramouli (Karthik). Actor Sathish plays Padmini, Raghav’s friend. The film, in fact, begins with Raghav, severely injured and in hospital. The first half narrates the incidents that lead to the accident, the second half is about what happens after.

Chandramouli is a man who likes his antiques. He refuses to let go of his lime green Premier Padmini car, owns an old keypad phone and there are a bunch of mish-mash antiques in the house to go with the story. Karthik’s happy-go-lucky charm, however, is very feebly felt in this film.

In a parallel storyline is the corporate war between Garuda Cabs owned by Azhagar (J Mahendran) and Go Cabs owned by Vinayak (Santhosh Prathap). Almost until the very end of the film, we try hard to understand how Thiru, the director, is going to link these two unrelated stories.

The end result is indeed confusing. The director employs too many ‘twists’ (it’s easier to lose interest at this point than to keep up) and to top it off, Raghav also develops a medical condition that restricts his field of vision after the accident.

Regina Cassandra plays Madhu, the woman Raghav pursues in this film. The meet-cute is Tamil cinema’s most worn-out cliche. Perhaps directors resort to love-at-first-sight for lack of imagination? Or do they still believe this is how people fall in love?

Varalaxmi Sarathkumar plays a young woman named Bhairavi, the only connecting thread between the two plot-lines. Interestingly, there’s an ambiguous relationship that sparks off between Bhairavi and Chandramouli. However, Bhairavi’s character is under-explored and this new friendship between the two is quite unconvincing -  a hastily put together characterisation.

The songs, although not memorable, are refreshing. The stunt sequences have been well done - especially the one where Raghav uses a rear view mirror to follow his enemy and although it looks quite funny it has been executed well. Gautham Karthik is convincing as a boxer only in the climax fight. While director Thiru has surely improved from Theeradha Vilayattu PillaiMr Chandramouli lacks the most important thing that makes a film memorable - a good story. 

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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