Chamak movie review: Specks of comedy and romance can't save this lacklustre drama

In Chamak, Ganesh and Rashmika Mandanna draw energy from each other and convert a lacklustre film into a watchable one, solely, with their performances.

Karthik Keramalu December 29, 2017 18:42:43 IST

2.5/5

Ganesh and Rashmika Mandanna look wonderful together. They draw energy from each other and convert a lacklustre film into a watchable one, solely, with their performances.

Chamak’s storyline isn’t fresh from the oven. It’s like a food item that rests in the refrigerator for several years. The task of writers and directors to do here is — open the fridge and reheat the item and garnish it with the flavor of the season whenever they want to feed the audience.

Chamak movie review Specks of comedy and romance cant save this lacklustre drama

Ganesh and Rashmika Mandanna in Chamak. Image from Twitter/@Official_Ganesh

The flavor for director Suni seems to be comedy. He proved that in his previous release, Operation Alamelamma, and he does it again in Chamak. The humorous lines and situations don’t always hit the bullseye, but it’s the only thing that makes this dry movie a bit bearable.

Mani Ratnam made the Tamil film Mouna Ragam, starring Revathi, Mohan, and Karthik, three decades ago. It brought the ‘D’ word — divorce — into the living room. The tender romance revolving around Revathi and Mohan was told through songs and gestures. The scene where Mohan hands over the divorce papers along with the anklets, and says that he brought them both, but she could choose whichever she wanted, still holds value in the hearts of filmmakers and moviegoers.

Even the 2013 Tamil film Raja Rani, starring Arya and Nayanthara, has divorce as one of its tropes. In Raja Rani, though, the love stories of the husband and wife, before they get married (Arya and Nazriya Nazim; Nayanthara and Jai), end on a sour note. They enter into wedlock unwillingly.

However, “unwilling” is not the term that can be used for the leading couple of Chamak, Kush (played by Ganesh) and Kushi (played by Rashmika), as they get married with full consent.

Kush is a gynecologist whose other traits include being a ladies’ man, while Kushi is an MBA graduate who runs an event-management firm. There are more bullet-points in their resume. They are party animals in their own space and yet, they don’t want their spouses to know about that. They will neither reveal their true selves, nor accept a person who has the same sensibilities as them.

When Kushi suggests that they get divorced, there’s a cheer from Kush. Right at this juncture itself, we’re completely aware of the curves the film is going to take before it ends in a filmy embrace. Chamak takes longer than an hour to drive home that simple point. That’s where the film falls apart.

What could have ended in an hour-and-a-half stretches beyond the horizon, and eclipses the nice moments and songs that the movie has to offer. Nevertheless, there are two important things that kind of give the movie some shine in the latter half — the role a stillborn baby plays in Kush’s understanding of life and death, and Sumithra’s (who plays Ganesh’s mother) monologue about how this generation doesn’t sit down to have a chat. Communication has moved from the corners of eyes to the tips of fingers, she adds. That part definitely sounded like a good TED talk, I must say.

By the way, don’t Kush and Kushi sound like names for twins? Why didn’t the director and his team think of this and work on pulling a joke out of these screen names (or maybe something that really works on a visual and aural level?). What we’re given, instead, is Sadhu Kokila getting beaten up by a bunch of people and homophobic jibes. A gentle reminder: We’re in 2017, not 1990.

In spite of the sprinkles of romance, comedy, and drama found in Chamak, it struggles to be an out-and-out enjoyable affair.

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