'Chandramukhi 2' movie review: Less of a sequel, more of a remake
Chandramukhi 2 may be set 17 years after the first film, but its obsolete dialogues and practices are still intact.
Chandramukhi, Sachien, and Mumbai Xpress were released on the same day in 2005. Yet, despite all the songs from the Kamal Haasan and Vijay films continuously playing on our television screens, I vividly remember waiting for the Ra Ra song, which never made it. That was the time when such delays were equated to the success of the film, and of course, Chandramukhi was a monstrous blockbuster that ran for almost 900 days. I always rued not catching it in theatres. Then... I watched Chandramukhi 2, a sequel to the legacy remake (of Manichithrathazhu). With P Vasu returning to director’s chair, Chandramukhi 2 fails to bring anything fresh to the film, and ends up delivering a colour-remastered copy of its predecessor.
Let’s get one thing straight. Despite Vadivelu’s Murugesan, who inherited the palace now, being the only connecting factor to both films, there is a barrage of ones who will definitely remind you of characters from the original 2005 remake. If Sheela’s Akhilandeshwari was the matriarch in the original, it’s Radikaa Sarathkumar as Ranganayaki in this instalment. She comes along with her family to the haunted palace to perform rituals to their family deity to wade off the bad luck that resulted in their cotton factory catching fire, and Lakshmi Menon’s Divya becoming wheel-chair bound. No points for guessing who will be playing Jyotika. The grudging uncle Nasser is replaced with Ravi Mariya, and Nayanthara’s Durga, the outcast servant-class love interest, is now played by Mahima Nambiar who gets one duet and is relegated to being doe-eyed and exploring corners of the palace that she shouldn’t be. If this is not enough, we also get a fake godman, a real ghostbusting ascetic, and we even get to meet Gopaaaaaaaalu also.
After a couple of gravity-defying stunts and song sequences that usually embody a Raghava Lawrence showreel, we get to know that he is Pandian, the guardian of two children that Ranganayaki’s daughter begets after she was ostracised for an inter-religion marriage, another example of archaic thinking. The family is now required to perform a ritual to satiate their family deity, and to have all the members in place, Pandian brings the children back to the family, until all hell breaks loose and the ghosts return for one more face-off. Yes, ghosts in plural, and let me get to that later.
Chandramukhi 2 may be set 17 years after the first film, but its obsolete dialogues and practices are still intact. Murugesan’s never-ending sexist and misogynistic ramblings have become even more tiresome and completely unbearable. After a shameful analogy of who can have a concubine, intercuts to footage of Ganga’s possession, a recreation of several original scenes, and a reference to Kanchana, Chandramukhi 2 kickstarts with the flashback.
Remember what I said about multiple ghosts? For a Chandramukhi, there is always a Vettaiyan, well in this case, a Sengottaiyan, who is the former’s commander-in-chief. As much as Kangana looks regal as the titular character, tries her best to lip sync, and performs as a dancer from the Vijayanagara empire, it falls flat as the charm never works. If you think the love triangle is only between Chandramukhi, Vettaiyan and Gunasekharan, then there is one between Vettaiyan, Sengottaiyan, and Chandramukhi too.
There is also no reason as to why Lakshmi Menon has to be possessed. Why is Chandramukhi facing off Sengottaiyan’s canines? Although Chandramukhi had enough characters that could have easily been re-imagined into a love story, royalty affair, or even a dance drama, why did they choose to use the cliched horror comedy templates that are outdated and tedious? Why does even the Ra Ra 2.0 featuring a honest Lakshmi Menon giving it her all in a yellow saree and dancing shoes not able to the film? But the biggest question of them all is... What is that 20-foot snake still doing in this universe?
Director: P Vasu
Cast: Raghava Lawrence, Kangana Ranaut, Vadivelu, Lakshmi Menon