Chi La Sow movie review: Rahul Ravindran makes a promising directorial debut with this sweet love story

Hemanth Kumar

Aug,03 2018 14:00:47 IST

3/5

Rahul Ravindran’s Chi La Sow, starring Sushanth and Ruhani Sharma, tells the story of a young couple, who are drawn close to each other under unusual circumstances. As cliched as the logline of the story might sound, the film is anything but that. It is an important film, one which places much of its emotional core in the hands of its women characters, and its significance is further underlined by its intent, where we are forced to ask ourselves, how long does it take to truly fall in love with someone. In Chi La Sow, there is no place for ‘love at first sight’. In fact, the drama between the lead characters begins with a ‘no’. However, both of them warm up to each other over a span of few hours which changes their lives overnight, quite literally. 

Sushantha and Ruhani Sharma in a still from Chi La Sow. Image via Twitter

Sushantha and Ruhani Sharma in a still from Chi La Sow. Image via Twitter

The story begins with Arjun (Sushanth) breaking the fourth wall to vent out his frustration. Like most youngsters, he is hounded by the whole world to get married soon and he tells us that he is not ready for it yet because he has goals to achieve. One fine day, despite his initial reluctance, he ends up meeting Anjali (Ruhani). The rest of the story is about how they get to know each other after Arjun makes it clear that he is not ready to get married. 

At the outset, it might be tempting to compare Chi La Sow with Tarun Bhascker’s 2016 film Pellichoopulu. However, the two films take different routes to drive their point home. While Prashanth in Pellichoopulu is without an aim in life, Chitra guides him to find his passion and figure out what he truly wants in life. The equation between the two lead characters in Chi La Sow, despite the thematic similarities, is explored from a different perspective altogether. Here, Arjun begins his journey as a confident young guy, who knows what his goals are. However, when it comes to marriage, he is not sure if he is making the right decision. On the other hand, Anjali, who is a breadwinner for her family, knows that she does not have the luxury to hold a confused approach towards life. For that matter, she finds it difficult to trust anyone easily because every single time she did so in her life, the person has left her in a limbo. Yet, she finds herself drawn towards Arjun. 

Chi La Sow is a wonderful character study about two people who have nothing much in common. Over a series of conversations, it tells us a lot of things that most films do not even bother addressing. But then, Chi La Sow is not like most Telugu films. Its approach to storytelling, for all its simplicity, comes with so many layers that at times, maybe it is difficult to find a vantage point to see where it is heading. Sometimes, it feels like it is growing organically and right then, Rahul introduces another subplot, involving a bunch of cops, to tell us how much Arjun has changed, and it feels rather unnecessary. And then, there is the whole debate on whether the film had enough drama to sustain one’s interest when the premise itself does not quite leave you with much to chew on. Visually too, the film imposes plenty of restrictions on itself. The way the film is written, structured, and shot, it leaves you with an impression that it was perhaps meant to be one long conversation between two characters, like Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. 

If there is someone who makes you want to clap while watching the film then it has to be Rohini. She barely has four scenes. However, that is more than enough to leave us with a lump in our throat. There is a scene where she just looks at Sushanth, smiles a bit and holds his hand. She does not say a word or even blink her eyes and yet, you find yourself going through a whirlpool of emotions because you empathise with her so much. Newcomer Ruhani delivers a wonderful performance as a strong, independent girl who is holding her family together. Quite a few times, it is her point of view that takes the narrative forward and Ruhani pulls off the role with a lot of poise. And then, there is Sushanth, who is a different actor altogether in this film. His character goes through the biggest change in the entire film, and he makes it count. Vennela Kishore is hilarious as Arjun’s friend and his presence brings in some good humour in an otherwise serious drama. 

Chi La Sow is not the kind of film which will sweep you off your feet instantly. The romance between the characters is more a testimony to how much they trust each other than love itself. Prashanth Vihari’s background score and M Sukumar’s cinematography help us to understand what the characters are going through, although there are times when the narrative feels rather bland. This is a recurring issue throughout Chi La Sow. It wants to say a lot of things, especially about women and how they handle themselves, but when it comes to filling the gaps between these wonderfully written segments, Rahul falls back on subtle humour or regular things that are not dramatic enough. 

Chi La Sow is a promising debut for Rahul Ravindran, It feels like the subtext and emotion underlying the film are more significant than what we see on screen. Maybe, it is more important to start a conversation. And Chi La Sow asks us: What does it take for you to say ‘yes’ to someone, whether it is love or marriage? It will leave you a lot to think about and quite frankly, it is a film which expects you to connect the dots, maybe also in your own life

Updated Date: Aug 03, 2018 14:00 PM