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VIJAY SETHUPATHI AND THE ART OF MANIPULATION - CCV

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Chekka Chivantha Vaanam - Vijay Sethupathi's Rasool Character analysis

Heavy Spoilers ahead, proceed at own risk.


Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. Once the title card comes on screen, the first thing we get introduced is Vijay Sethupathi's voice over about Senapathy. What happened to the usual aesthetic Mani Ratnam shots? Karthi gets introduced through a mirror shot in Kaatru Veliyidai. Tara and Adhi from OK Kanmani see each other through the gap between trains. There is nothing as such. I don't remember seeing a Mani Ratnam movie starting with a voice-over.


This a very unique trait in the movie, yet we all seemed to have missed that. According to me, the whole story is just a report by Rasool Ibrahim. That's why we don't get to see the fate of women like Parvathy(Aditi Rao Hydari), and Renu (Aishwarya Rajesh). After the end of the movie, we too don't seem to care much about them. We don't care about how the life of Renu or Parvathy would have progressed after the death of the men. Neither does Rasool.


His mission was to eliminate the gangsters, and that was his sole priority. After the climax he says "A lot of things went spiralling out of hand, yet the job is done." Those "things" could refer to the deaths of Chithra and Chaaya, because that was not his motive.


My favourite part about Rasool's character was how he manipulated the minds of other characters with consummate ease!


When Senapathy is in the hospital, Rasool calls up Varadan and gives him a detail he isn't interested in and cracks a terrible PJ. The most dried up person is the easiest to convince. As Varadan gives up and almost hangs up the phone, Rasool drops the bait and waits for Varadan to bite it.


Varadan immediately calls back and rushes towards Pondicherry, even without confirming if the news is true. Rasool's calm demeanour doesn't allow us to guess anything about him. But, if you notice carefully, while others are chasing the assasins in the lodge, Rasool is chatting with an old man. He basically does nothing there, when he could have done anything.
 

Why? Because he will have to explain the reasons of his actions. Because we will understand the reasons for his actions. Because he wants to keep his cards close to the chest and not show whom he is really supporting.


One moment, he is tipping Varadan with the whereabouts of 2 killers. The next moment, he is warning and helping Ethi in warding off a set of gangsters. In another, he promises Chithra that he'll take care of Varadan. All of a sudden, you see him spying on Chinnappa Dasan and Senapathy. Senapathy's wife gets the innocence of Bhavani Aunty(Leela Samson) from OK Kanmani and doesn't suspect him. She also reasons out saying "You may be a police officer, but for me, you're Varadan's school friend".


As much as he is a close friend to these people, he is the one who sparks off a fight between the brothers. When Thyagu doesn't turn up for Senapathy's funeral, he tells Varadan that Ethi and Thyagu might be planning something and immediately puts his glasses on. A brilliant analogy to provoke Varadan again. Just when you think he is supporting Varadan, he discloses Varadan's plan to Ethi and Thyagu. Again he reasons out saying they pay him more than Varadan.


Interesting catch - Every time Rasool tips Varadan with information, he tells it in this tone: "I have a news. I know you won't take it. Still... ok I'm not saying it." This creates curiosity, and then he reveals it. So, now you are not just knowing things, you also start trusting Rasool. That is the kind of character he is.


Is Rasool all about money? No! He has emotions too. When Ethi threatens Rasool's family, he surrenders completely. Once the family members who were held as hostage are untied, he slowly becomes the Rasool we are used to seeing. He also doesn't fail to admit that the men involved in the conflict are heartless beasts. He even confronts Varadan about this: "What do I have in this? You brothers hug each other, fight and kill each other. I don't care. But, what did the women do?" This question provokes Varadan during his final moments and that triggers a confession.


The word Rasool means a messenger. Truly, throughout the movie, he carries messages. Messages that trigger violence, that creates conflict, that makes them believe in Rasool. If the messenger hadn't existed, half the conflicts would have reduced. The movie would have been a sluggish one.


All his actions have the same cause. 2 out of 3 will kill each other, and the final one will face his death at the hands of Rasool. Rasool had already solved the entire puzzle in mind. It was just a matter of time before he placed all the pieces of the puzzle at their places. He does it, with finesse, in his own style.


Read about other characters by clicking their names:
 

1) Simbu / Ethiraj


2) Aravind Swami / Varadan


3) Arun Vijay / Thyagu

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