Banner: Madras Talkies and Sri Venkateshwara Creations
Cast: Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydari, RJ Balaji, Delhi Ganesh, KAPC Lalitha and others
Music: A R Rehman
Cinematography: Ravi Varman
Editor: A Sreekara Prasad
Stunts: Sham Kaushal
Producers: Mani Ratnam and Sirish
Written and directed by: Mani Ratnam
Release date: Apr 07, 2017
Mani Ratnam's movies are always eagerly awaited. As his earlier movie "OK Bangaram" was a decent hit, "Cheliyaa" has raised expectations. Since Dil Raju is presenting it, the film got more hype. Also Karthi is a well-known name in Tollywood. So, "Cheliyaa" has made lot of pre-release buzz.
Let's see what story Mani Ratnam has presented us this time.
Varun (Karthi), a fighter pilot in Indian Air Force, gets imprisoned in Pakistan jail during Kargil war when Pak army bombs his plane down. In jail, he lives with the memories of Leela.
The story moves back and forth - the present serving of jail and his past love story. Couple of years ago, an accident brings officer Varun and Dr Leela together in Sri Nagar. Love blossoms.
Trouble arises in their relationship when he starts showing anger issues and other mood swings. She breaks up her relationship with him when he says he is not sure about being a good husband or parent.
Now the story comes to the current times in Pakistan. He tries to escape from the jail to meet Leela.
Karthi has undergone for complete makeover to fit into the skin of a Mani Ratnam's hero. The highly talented Karthi has given his best performance and he is perfect to the T in the role of pilot Varun. He looks very handsome in the film. His chemistry with Aditi is also fantastic.
Aditi Rao is not only beautiful but is also very talented as actress. Delhi Ganesh is good. The movie has unfamiliar actors in other roles.
The hallmark of Mani Ratnam's movies is having terrific technical values. He has made this movie with equally best visuals. Ravi Varman's frames are so beautiful and his picturisation is stunning.
The selection of locations is also good. Music is pretty bad, not a song makes an impact. The pace of the movie is damn slow and editing of Sreekara Prasad doesn't much help. Sham Kaushal's action choreography is okay.
Boring second half
Total Dull moments
When first trailer of "Cheliyaa" hit the youtube, everyone went gaga over it. Visuals in the teaser made declaring the master director is back. What impress in "Cheliyaa" is the same - terrific visuals. What about the story, narration, and other things? They don't impress at all. In fact, they bore us.
Few minutes into the movie, we realize that Mani Ratnam has not much content on his hands to offer other than showcasing beautiful Kashmiri locations.
The snowcapped mountains (shot in a foreign country), the backdrop of IAF planes, and airbase stations give a different look to the movie. But there are no great moments to relish, no extraordinary love story to enjoy, no great songs to forget about the dull moments.
There are not even patriotic moments to clap for. What we get to see is the unconvincing and boring romantic drama between Karthi and Aditi.
Karthi impresses Aditi easily, he takes her to Himalaya on his plane, and then he starts treating her as unimportant thing and forgets about the important things that matter to their life. He is like that. No explanation is given about this character trait.
Despite both the actors are beautiful and have good chemistry, their romance doesn't hold interest. Their conversation is awkwardly bad. The dialogues are bookish and hard to understand.
By end of the first half, restlessness comes in and as the movie progresses in the second half, one gets the feeling of tired.
Entire second half is lethargic. In a lengthy scene in the second half, Karthi gives a long speech explaining Aditi's parents about his love towards her. In that lengthy scene, their parents don't utter a single word, she remains mostly silent and he goes on delivering dialogues for nearly 10 minutes. Such uninteresting scenes keep coming till the end.
The film is dedicated to Kargil heroes but the film doesn't speak much about heroism of our Kargil heroes, nor does it arouse any patriotic feel. Wish Mani Ratnam focused on this aspect rather than the dull romantic thread.
Sadly, the movie also has bad music. Rehman has come up with two good songs but they are not effective on screen.
Although Karthi and Aditi have given their best and cinematographer Ravi Varman stole the show, the movie comes a cropper. All in all, "Cheliyaa" is totally tedious and boring watch.