Movie Review: Cheliya
Cast: Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydari, RJ Balaji, Lalitha, Shraddha Srinath, Delhi Ganesh and Others
Music: AR Rahman
Cinematography: Ravi Varman
Producer: Dil Raju
Story, Screenplay & Direction: Mani Ratnam
Release Date: 7th of April 2017
Mani Ratnam delivered many classics in the past few decades. People throng theaters to watch his films even if the word-of-mouth is negative just because of trust they have on this genius filmmaker. After successive flops, Mani is back to his best with 'Ok Bangaram'. Once again, He choose a love story which is his favourite genre. 'Cheliya' starring Karthi & Aditi released Today. Did Mani succeed in creating magic yet again?
Varun alias VC (Karthi) is a Indian Navy Fighter Pilot working in Kashmir. Leela (Aditi Rao Hydari), a Doctor, treats Varun when he was brought to the hospital where she works after an accident. Love blossoms between them in no time. The Commitment Phobic Attitude of Varun leads to a friction in the relationship. At the same time, Kargil War happens and Varun ends up as War Prisoner after being caught by the Pakistan Troops. What happens to the Naval Officer thereafter? Has Varun ever met Leela again? Watch 'Cheliya' in theaters near you for knowing more!
Karthi gave his career-best performance in 'Cheliya'. He has given everything for this role from his side and does a marvelous job in the scenes he express love. Karthi leaves the audience teary-eyed with his performance in the Climax and never been before he has given such intense performance.
Aditi Rao Hydari arrests the attention of viewers with her beauty and expressions. The way she emotes with her eyes will certainly haunt the audience. Mani's trademark close-up shots of Lead Pair are just mind-blowing.
Rest of the actors doesn't have much scope in the movie. RJ Balaji is fine. Delhi Ganesh is alright.
AR Rahman's Compositions were refreshing as usual. Couple of songs were really good. But, It's the Background Score which is outstanding to say the least. Visuals in 'Cheliya' are breathtaking. Thanks to Cinematographer Ravi Varman who captured the beauty of Kashmir better than anyone else. People just fall in love with his work in 'Cheliya'. Dialogues are in Mani's trademark style. Production Values are awesome. Mani Ratnam extracted the best output he can from Lead Pair & Technicians. He leaves a mark of his own on this movie but fails to impress a larger section of people due to the lack of taut screenplay.
The manner in which Mani Ratnam presents his Love Stories will be quite different from other Filmmakers. Be it 'Bombay', 'Sakhi' and 'Ok Bangaram', It's the chemistry between the Lead Pair which mesmerized the audience. Even in 'Cheliya', We get to see such magical moments between Karthi & Aditi Rao. Mani Ratnam showcased the intimacy shared by the Lead Pair & the conflict in a poetic manner.
On the flip side, Storyline of 'Cheliya' is wafer-thin and Screenplay isn't impressive either. The Kargil War episode didn't leave a good impact. Even few crucial scenes of the Protagonist appear quite unconvincing. Karthi was shown escaping from Pak Prison & reaching India in the most easiest way possible. Audience can't digest that even someone like Mani has taken cinematic liberties to such an extent.
Fun quotient in 'Cheliya' is no where close to either 'Cheli' or 'Ok Bangaram'. Lack of depth in the scenes is the biggest drawback. Sluggish Pace in the Second Half, Serious Tone & Complicated Dialogue Version play the spoilsport.
'Cheliya' can be watched only for the sizzling chemistry of Lead Pair, Music, Camera Work & Few Trademark Mani Ratnam Moments. Fans of Mani Ratnam mayn't be disappointed completely but others might find it boring.
Bottom Line: Mani's Magic works in parts!