Thiru’s Mr. Chandramouli: What Works, What Doesn’t

Gautham Karthik has an impressive outing in a film with a middling first half
Thiru’s Mr. Chandramouli: What Works, What Doesn’t

Director Thiru brings together the father-son duo of Karthik and Gautham Karthik for the first time in Mr. Chandramouli.

Plot: The rivalry between two cab services (market leader 'Garuda' and budding player 'Go Cab') forms the core plot of the film. Several passengers who use 'Go Cab' are subjected to violent crimes, and it appears pretty straightforward as to who the mastermind behind them is. But, there is a plot twist towards the end of the film. A closely knit father-son duo, the son's supportive girlfriend, the father's relationship with a much-younger woman and eventually revenge are also part of the mix. Like his earlier film Naan Sigappu Manithan, director Thiru's protagonist begins to suffer from a medical handicap, which he has to overcome in order to achieve his goal.

What Works:

  • This is yet another impressive outing for young Gautham Karthik, after 2017's Rangoon. He stands out in the emotional scenes and in the stunts and chase sequences in the second half. Gautham and Regina form a good pair and add glamour to the proceedings with the hit number 'Yedhedho Aanene' shot along the beach.
  • Karthik's presence is a definite highlight. The father-son vibe obviously feels natural. The second half adds more emotional depth to their relationship.
  • Regina has gone the extra mile for this film, dubbing on her own (sounding very similar to Andrea) and carrying herself well during the beach song. She plays a key role in the hero's mission in the second half.
  • Varu Sarath plays a role that any other heroine would've been reluctant to accept. The dynamics between Karthik and Varu is unprecedented for Tamil cinema, and the director leaves their relationship open to the audience's interpretation.
  • Among the other actors Sathish (a comedian who also gets some emotional scenes), Santhosh Prathap (as Go Cab's ambitious CEO) and director Agathiyan (as Karthik's close friend) make a mark.
  • DoP Richard Nathan treats the beach song aesthetically and keeps it visually pleasing. His camera work plays a key role in the story progression in the second half. The chase scenes with the mirror are quite interesting.
  • Composer Sam CS proves his prowess at background scoring yet again. He has been going from strength to strength ever since Vikram Vedha.

What Doesn't:

  • 'Love at first sight' and 'dream romance song in an exotic location' are outdated tropes, which filmmakers should avoid going forward.
  • At times, it appears as if the veteran Karthik tries too hard to be cool, with his unique dialogue delivery and body language.
  • The first half is quite flat and predictable. The 'Rajadhi Raja' number could've been pruned.
  • Veteran director – actor Mahendran gets a powerful introduction, but little else after that. All that anticipation amounts to nothing.
  • When the director reveals the film's actual antagonist in the end, one might question the character's twisted thinking and outlandish plans. There is also an element of convenience in this segment.

Final Word: After a middling first half, Thiru resurrects his film in the latter half with interesting elements to hook the viewer.

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