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Chandamama Kathalu: Incompleteness and Poetic Justice

Posted on the 25 April 2014 by Haricharanpudipeddi @pudiharicharan

Movie: Chandamama Kathalu

Director: Praveen Sattaru 

Cast: Naresh, Aamani, Lakshmi Manchu, Chaitanya Krishna, Krishnudu and Richa Panai

Rating: ***1/2

Chandamama Kathalu is an occasional change to lend solace to a regional viewer and comprehend them with care that the times ahead of this industry are indeed not bleak as they seem. It has a maker who makes peace with the fact that there are enough alternatives beyond staple diets to digest a story sans the forced cinematic compromises that the so-called established directors too have consciously fallen a prey to. He knows to use silence, neat visuals, straightly uttered lines, underplayed background scores and philosophical undertones and pin these ensemble elements together for an alliance in a heart-warming, sufficing tone.

As much as the film is about poetic justice, it is equally about incompleteness of life. There are eight stories in number. Every character is in quest of that life-changing moment that would make their existence achieve a sense of completion and gratification just like the writer in one of the tales who initially titles his new work to be ‘Hope’. When you witness the very same story-writer at the commencement of the film be at his desperate best for inspiration in a coffee shop closely observing the diversity of his surroundings out of a transparent glass, picking his characters and trying to weave them into a wholesome result, what the director does is to let the audience take part actively in the entire experience and use that handy momentum to never let the work go off-steam, switching to each of their lives seamlessly.

The film silently tries to take sides and be preachy on what’s good and what’s not. But, the exercise isn’t entirely dedicated to it and doesn’t directly impose the same. This is especially felt when Haseena gives her earlier love a cold snub, going on to marry a Dubai resident who turns out to be taxi driver, a shocking truth when he is earlier spoken of as a rich businessman. Later, the Muslim shop-owner who was in a relationship with her sobs for a while but is rather happy to have let her gone knowing that she might have deserved the result she ultimately got.

Even in the life of Aamani and Naresh, the focus is only on letting them be true to their inner selves and not let the society dictate what they are to be. While in case of Naga Shaurya who is made to work at a Muncipality office, he complains a lot initially about what he has and in the end, he is not left with much choice. He goes about his work with a smile knowing that it is indeed his reality. So is the case with the stranded beggar on the streets, the model who is well-past her stardom, the awaiting bachelor posting ads for a bride on a newspaper and an evil moneymaker who intends to make money by emotional-blackmail, they all get what the writer sees and feels they richly deserve.

The combination of the super-natural elements when the director involves rain, the moon, quotes from epics in addition to the occasional Imtiaz Ali-like Sufi touches, they aid the experience with all the depth and credibility. Although Kishore as the narrator and Lakshmi Manchu as the Kangana lookalike in Fashion steal the thunders with respect to performances, the director drives home the entire credit for not making fuss that it’s an anthology film yet again and letting small emotions take centre-stage. Chandamama Kathalu lives up to its title when you know that you still have the appetite to hear a series of stories when it ends. Though comparisons with certain Chinese or Korean films can’t be totally ignored, the fulfilling exit at the cinema hall substitutes for it.

Review by Srivathsan N. First published in Cinegoer.net

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