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Thiruchitrambalam: A breezy, lighthearted rom-com

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Mithran Jawahar started his career on a high note. Remaking his mentor Selvaraghavan’s only Telugu film ‘Aadavari Matalaku Arthale Verule’ in Tamil as ‘Yaaradi Nee Mohini’ starring Dhanush, Selvaraghavan’s brother, Jawahar benefitted from the solid and nuanced screenplay. Jawahar has since remained in the rom-com lane, his other film of note being another Dhanush starrer ‘Uthamaputhiran’, a riotous sequence of laughs which bolstered Jawahar’s reputation for comedy. However, I was not a fan of Jawahar’s ‘Kutty’, causing some apprehension entering this film. 

‘Thiruchitrambalam’ again follows Dhanush as Thiruchitrambalam aka Pazham, an unlucky-in-love food delivery driver who has not spoken to his father - played by Prakash Raj - in ten years due to reasons revealed later in the film through flashback (sound familiar?). He has two sidekicks in the form of Thiruchitrambalam Sr - played by Bharathiraja - and his childhood friend Shobana - played by Nithya Menen. 

The film has a lot going for it. Jawahar has matured drastically in his technical sensibilities. A lot of the film is shot with a soft focus, aiding the romantic mood. The lighting is great during the night scenes earlier in the film, using strong blocks of clashing colour. Every actor’s performance is strong too. Dhanush is comfortable in a role he has played numerous times before. Nithya Menen plays the best friend very well. Her acting range continues to impress me, especially compared to the foul-mouthed, short-tempered, wheelchair bound ex-police officer she portrayed in ‘Psycho’.

Prakash Raj’s performance is pitch perfect as always. However, the indubitable highlight of the film is legendary director Bharathiraja’s Thiruchitrambalam Sr. The comedic timing of his performance is excellent, helped by Prasanna GK’s timely edits and Jawahar’s direction. A great positive for the film was the cast’s naturalistic acting, rarely overplaying their roles. Much like the performances, the plot and romance in the film felt very much grounded in the 21st century. 

The song sequences flowed well with the story too. ‘Megham Karukatha’ felt like new ground for Anirudh, trying his hand at something slightly jazzier. The accompanying visuals felt like a mix between ‘La La Land’ and a theatrical Broadway musical (especially in its use of the spotlight). The background score during the film did feel slightly overly dramatic at points though, which stood out especially due to the cast’s quieter performances. 

Another issue is how predictable the film was. The prediction I made during the trailer was exactly how the film played out, falling back on an age-old romance trope. Nevertheless, the journey to the end was worth it.

I laughed throughout the film - thankfully one of the biggest laughs was near the end - and, of course, ultimately that is the goal of a rom-com. I would recommend this film if you enjoyed other Dhanush rom-coms like ‘Yaaradi Nee Mohini’, ‘Uthamaputhiran’ and ‘Velai Illa Pattathari’. Personally, ‘Thiruchitrambalam’ is stronger than the latter two, but not quite as good as the former.

Krishna's rating: 3 stars

Images Sun Pictures


Official trailer for the film below.

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