Content Lagging in an Otherwise Visual Treat - The New Indian Express

Content Lagging in an Otherwise Visual Treat

Published: 17th February 2014 03:42 PM

Last Updated: 17th February 2014 03:43 PM

Film: Chandra

Director: Roopa Iyer

Cast: Shriya Saran, Prem, Ganesh Venkatram, Vivek, Vijay Kumar

After about three years of hiatus from the Tamil screen, Shriya makes her re-entry with Chandra. A Tamil-Kannada bilingual (Kannada version released last year), it's the love saga of a last generation princess set in contemporary times. Looking ravishing and alluring, Shriya plays Chandra, a princess who loves her music teacher, but gets engaged to a scion of a royal family. With the camera caressingly moving over her body and face in lingering, flattering close-ups, the actress has never looked so gorgeous before.

Roopa Iyer, apart from the dance choreography, fights, set and costume design, scripts and directs the film that has an ensemble cast of lead and supporting actors from both Tamil and Kannada screen. The plot centres around Chandra, a last generation princess who falls for her music teacher (popular 'handsome hero' Prem, of Kannada films) and vice versa. Well choreographed is the 'Kalari' fight between the duo. Prem with his striking screen presence, a well toned body and talent to boot, is sure to get noticed by Tamil film makers. Chandra's family with just the royal lineage and not much wealth to boast of, is insistent that she marry in a royal household.

Chandra gets engaged to Arya (handsome, suave Ganesh), the US based scion of a royal family. The film has stunning visuals and tastefully designed sets and costumes, which lend them a rich old world charm and feel. Iyer's narration in the first half and the romantic interludes between Chandra and her lover have a lyrical, poetic feel.

But what goes against the film is its contrived second half, it's slow leisurely pace, and inconsistency in maintaining the feel and mood. Some of the episodes don't gel. Vivek's (playing Chandra's brother) comic antics typical of his 'masala' films, seem incongruous and misplaced here. Appalling is when the princess is shown dancing to a typical item number at the 'Dasara' festival. The second half shifts briefly to the US where Chandra accompanies her fiance's family, to get tuned to the place and a modern lifestyle pre-marriage. She gets a makeover there, though the transition is not felt. For, except for the western gown, the 'traditional' Chandra had cut an even more sexy modern picture in her saree attire! There is a mild twist in the end, but it seems sudden and contrived.

Chandra is a visual treat and a good attempt. If only it's content had matched its style!

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