For people who are familiar with other language films, the name Charulatha would bring to memory Sathyajit Ray’s poetic 1963 classic of the same name. However the current work of director Pon Kumaran deals with a new topical theme of conjoined twins which has assumed reasonable interest, thanks to Suriya’s impending Maattrraan.
The makers of Chraulatha have given credits to the original Thai film ‘Alone’ and have understandably altered it to suit the local sensibilities which works well for the film. Well crafted screenplay, good visual effects and able performance of Priya Mani are the highlights of Chraulatha resulting in an engaging experience for the audience.
Charulatha on a broader perspective revolves about sibling rivalry with a novel theme of conjoined factor thrown in as the arc spiced up with super-natural factors.
Director Pon Kumaran, although has taken the main theme from the Thai film, has modified and brought in local elements like the Tantric Sai Sasi and his Sanjeevini root. Priya Mani carries the film on her shoulders with a nuanced portrayal that delineates her two characters perfectly. It’s just not the spectacles or the hair style but her sharp body language of the docile Charu and the aggressive Latha, that works in favor of the film hugely. And her unique voice for Latha adds a special touch to the role.
Plaudits to the special effects team who has done a good job in the sequences involving the conjoined twins. The scene when the twins dance and climb down the stairs is certainly the highlight of the visual effects work. Visual opulence and grandeur mark the work of cinematographer Pannerselvam who gives a rich and an extra chic canvas of Charulatha to the audience. It is palpable that Pannerselvam has played a major role in translating the director’s vision on to the big screen.
For a horror film, RR is integral to up the scare quotient and sadly Sundar C Babu’s score does not have enough spunk in it to aid in this sector. There are just about two songs which are pedestrian. Comedy in the name of the small boy and Harathi are downers and the boy’s voice especially is an aural sore of top order. In fact the portions involving these two artists impede the progress of the film.
The suspense element that is revealed towards the climax is really a rocker on a totally unexpected line and is well handled. Kudos to the director for this knot! With just about two characters in the main fray and two more in the supporting bay, Pon Kumaran has woven an interesting and an engaging story.
Priya Mani’s house looks straight out from the pages of a fairy tale book and the camera captures it in the apt angles and lights. Saranya Ponvannan and Seetha have delivered their parts well with the latter having more screen space.
For a horror film, there is not much of spookiness or eeriness but for the oft-repeated ‘spirit’ual sojourns.
Nevertheless Charulatha gets its brownie points for the novelty factor, good performance and fitting visual effects coupled with a fairly engaging narration.
Verdict: Fine performance, novel theme and good visual effects mark this flick