Chal Mohan Ranga movie review: Nithiin, Megha Akash-Starrer is a soul-sucking experience

Hemanth Kumar

Apr 05, 2018 16:41:07 IST


Soon after director Krishna Chaitanya’s Chal Mohan Ranga, starring Nithiin and Megha Akash, begins to unfold its world, we are constantly reminded that 'everything is a sign'. In the story, it underlines the fact that destiny is going to play a major role in the lives of two young people, who struggle to come to terms with their feelings with each other. But it doesn’t take too long to understand that this message — 'everything is a sign' — is not a symbol of hope, it’s a warning that there’s something amiss about the whole film. You can sense it as early as the first 20 minutes of the story itself, and the more we dig into the story, the warning signs just keep increasing in intensity.

Still from Chal Mohan Ranga

Still from Chal Mohan Ranga

Like most romantic dramas, the film begins with a chance meeting between Mohan Ranga (Nithiin) and Megha Subramaniam (Megha Akash). The two are barely 10 years old, but Mohan Ranga knows that this girl is special. Soon, Megha moves to the US, and Mohan begins toying around with the idea of moving to the US. Several years later, when Mohan Ranga manages to get a US visa, destiny plays a key role in their lives. The rest of the story is about how they come to terms with their own destiny.

When the titles roll in the beginning, both Trivikram Srinivas and Krishna Chaitanya have been attributed with writing credits, but after watching the film, it makes you wonder if either of them knew what they were doing. This is a simple story which sticks to the standard format of rendezvous and break-up before the eventual reconciliation; however, the narrative is anything but charming. Mohan Ranga is desperate to go to the US, and when he finally manages to get there, he realises that his American dream is in jeopardy. The first half feels like a showreel on what people do to get a H1B visa, and it unfolds against the backdrop of a road trip. You understand what Krishna Chaitanya wants to do with the script, especially when it comes to bringing two people with different mindsets closer over the course of their journey, but the actors are reduced to cardboard characters. The pain in their relationship pales in comparison to how painful it is to watch the film struggle to find its soul.

There’s hardly anything organic about the film and if that isn’t enough, there’s plenty of exposition which is meant to give you a hint of things to come. And then, slowly, one scene after another, the film begins to sink. Time refuses to tick faster despite all our hopes, and the only thing that feels hurried, if at all, is our desperation to see the end credits roll as soon as possible. It’s a clear sign that you too are sinking along with the story. There’s no redemption even when the story moves to Coonoor. It just keeps getting worse — the pace of storytelling, the writing among everything else.

It’s beyond comprehension why the visual tone of Chal Mohan Ranga looks so grim. Like the characters themselves, neither the cinematography nor its music brim with life. Maybe this is a sign too, which no matter how hard I try, I couldn’t decipher while watching the film. There’s a long comedy sequence that’s written around the shenanigans of the characters after getting drunk, but it actually makes you want to scream out loud that enough is enough. That’s a sign too.

Towards the end of the film, when one of the characters asks someone about the psychological state of Mohan Ranga and Megha, he simply says, “It’s a natural phenomenon which occurs when you live in cold place.” Right at that moment, I began to think about the A/C in the cinema hall and it was the scariest moment of the whole experience. The ‘Exit’ board looked like glowing ember. Maybe that was a sign too.

This was a soul-sucking experience and it’s hard to recall any other ‘romantic drama’ in recent times which crushed the whole point of what makes a romantic film ‘romantic’ to pulp and that too in such a glorious manner. There’s nothing that anyone in the film can do to salvage it. Out of all the issues that it grapples with, including how seriously it takes itself, nothing is more problematic than its writing. When #clarity goes for a toss, it’s a sign that there’s something terribly wrong with the film. Too bad, no one read the signs. Or did they? Two big thumbs down for this love story which turns a simple story into a lifeless journey.

Updated Date: Apr 05, 2018 16:41:07 IST