Star Cast: Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydri, Lalitha, Shradha, Srinath, Rukmini Vijayakumar, Delhi Ganesh, RJ Balaji, Shivakumar Ananth, Vipin Sharma, Harish Raj and others.
Music: AR Rahman
Lyrics: Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry
Produced By: Manirathnam, Shirish
Banner: Sri Venkateswara Creations
Released on: 7th April 2017
Manirathnam is a past master at celluloid romances, “Roja”, “Dilse”, “Geethanjali”, “Bombay”, “Sakhi”, “Ok Bangaram” all stand testament to his genius in the romantic genre. His latest offering “Cheliya” too falls into the celluloid love story genre. The other peculiar aspect of his films is that he is capable of using even a very macabre background to depict a wonderful love story – as in the case of “Bombay” and “Dilse”. He is one director who draws audiences with his own brand name.
Varun (Karthi) is a fighter pilot with the Indian Airforce based in the border area. Leela (Aditi Rao Hydri) is a military doctor also based there. The two are as different as chalk and cheese. Karthi is outwardly very strong but is basically soft natured. Leela is outwardly soft natured but is really tough as nails. The two fall in love despite these fundamental differences. Unfortunately as war rages during a sortie Karthi’s aircraft strays into Pakistani airspace and he ends up in a military prison in Rawalpindi. The film revolves around the conflict between the two lovers before he leaves for war; does he manage to get out of prison; does he come back and be re-united with his beloved.
This story has the Indo – Pak conflict in Kargil as its backdrop. A sensitive love story is intertwined into a macabre backdrop. The film has the director’s stamp in every frame and dialogue. The entire first half focuses on how the love birds meet and fall in love. The real story begins with the twist just before the interval. The story gains momentum in the second half. On the one hand the hero Varun gets out of prison with the Pakistani army on his tail interspersed with scenes between the hero and the heroine. The climax may not interest the audiences though they remind us of the Manirathnam at his peak.
Performances of the stars:
Karthi and Aditi are the corner stone of the film. But Karthi is not up to the mark in the role of an Indian Airforce Officer. He is more used to mass commercial films, which clearly shows in the film. Aditi Rao Hydri acquits herself well. The hero and heroine enjoy a good chemistry between them. Others in the star cast are adequate.
Manirathnam once again proves his talent in portraying a love story. The backdrop of the Indo-Pak conflict is very critical for the film. The characters he created easily fit into the backdrop. Ravivarman’s cinematography and AR Rahman’s music elevate the film. The director has chosen excellent locations. The lyricist has done a wonderful job. Some scenes are a drag on the proceedings. The biggest drawback of Manirathnam is that he always takes the entire first half to come to the point. This film is no different.
The Final Word:
“Cheliya” is an out and out romance as is the director’s wont.
“Cheliya” is rated 2.5/5