Director: Mani Ratnam
Cast: Aravind Swamy, Simbu, Arun Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi, Jyothika
Ace director Mani Ratnam has signalled his return to form with the release of Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, a multi-starrer and a gangster crime saga. Given how we are living in an ever-polarised world, CCV is a microcosm that explores the depths to which a man can be pushed in his quest for money and power.
Senapathy (Prakash Raj) addressed as Paeriyavar, is a gangster who has the law enforcement under his control. Although a tough guy he may be, he often masks his dangers and maintains a normal facade, such as going to a temple with his wife (Jayasudha) on their wedding anniversary. An attempted murder on life goes awry, and this leads to mobilizing his task force, namely his three sons, Varadhan (Arvind Swamy,) Thyagu (Arun Vijay,) and Ethi (Simbu.) Each one gets a unique intro!
Varadhan is like dad and goes about doing usual gangster things — kidnappings, extortions, intimidations and so on. He is married to his uncle's daughter Chithra (Jyothika) and has three children. Thyagu lives with his wife Renu (Aishwarya Rajesh) and kids and does business in Dubai with Arabs and things are looking up for him. And Ethi is an arms dealer in Serbia. He has a girlfriend Chaaya (Dayana Erappa) who is a model. With Senapathy’s declining health, all three have similar thoughts in their heads: that none of their two brothers deserve any part in leading their dad’s empire. Their relationships rapidly deteriorate and war breaks loose between the brothers.
Nuance is the key here and there’s ample attention to details in CCV. One would feel that the camps would be evenly divided into three, but there’s plenty of backroom agreements and cooperation going on. The police officer in the epicentre of these events is Rasool (Vijay Sethupathi.) Being childhood friend of Varadhan, he too is compromised and has his own interests in mind.
CCV has a multitude of characters and majority of them have delivered adequate fitness on screen. The three brothers are satisfactory, with Arvind Swamy leading the charge. His edginess fills the air. Simbu shines every bit with his amazing screen presence — be it an easygoing person initially, who showers his love on mom and girlfriend, to revolting when things go askew. Arun Vijay looks suave and has given a laudable performance.
The show stealer here is probably Vijay Sethupathi, and although his screen space is very limited, the actor misses not a beat! Prakash Raj and Thyagarajan are adequate. Women, too, have been given some space in the film. Jyothika as Arvind Swamy’s wife, portrayed with slight grey shades, is given a significant role. Jayasudha does justice in the given character. Aishwarya Rajesh, Dayana Erappa and Aditi Rao Hydari all have their moments, but due to overwhelming number of characters and a crisp run time of about 2 hours, their stories fizzle out quickly in the second half.
Music by AR Rahman (and lyrics by Vairamuthu) is relegated to the backgrounds, but he’s on point as ever. ARR’s BGM elevates the entire proceedings top notch. Santhosh Sivan’s cinematography will give you much to praise and little to complain. Due to the overload of characters, some of the dialogues and exchanges tend to fall flat. Mani Ratnam films have always been technical fiesta, but surprisingly, it’s the characters and their complex human tendencies that make this film exciting. CCV is a revenge drama that would leave you captivated and spellbound.