Chitralahari : Movie Review
Sai Dharam Tej dropped Dharam from his name after a streak of flops and has gone for a total makeover in Chitralahari. It is a better film than his recent duds, but unfortunately, it isn’t the one that could end his miseries.
What is it about?
Vijay (Sai Tej) is a mechanical engineer who couldn’t find success in spite of many attempts. His girlfriend Lahari (Kalyani) also ditches him for being a failure and a liar. How does Vijay find success and what extent does he goes to get there forms rest of the story.
Sai Tej is looking to shed his mass hero image by totally staying away from action scenes and punch dialogues. It is a welcome change. There is a lot of subtlety in his performance too. His performance as Vijay is good and will surely gain some brownie points. Kalyani Priyadarshan is okay as the female lead. Nivetha Pethuraj is impressive as Swecha. Sunil gets a meaty role and he did fine. Vennela Kishore’s comedy is good. Posani Krishna Murali is a surprise package in a soft and subtle role.
Kishore Tirumala sets up the tone for the film with a good introduction of characters and well written initial portions. However, the direction seems clueless in the second half where everything is predictable and there’s nothing to keep the viewers engaged. He does a fine job as a dialogue writer. His dialogues for Posani and key scenes involving the protagonist are extremely impressive.
Devi Sri Prasad is in good form here. There aren’t many songs, but all the songs are catchy and hummable. Background score also is good. The cinematography is cool without any flashiness. Editing is neat. The film’s runtime is crisp. Production values are decent.
Sai Tej’s makeover
Story of underdogs is not new to Telugu cinema audience. There were numerous films that dealt with the underdog theme and turned successful. These stories are successful due to the relatable characters and situations. But Chitralahari seemed too dramatic and often disengaging because of some ordinary writing. Director Kishore Tirumala is a fine writer but couldn’t shine enough in Chitralahari. Most part of the film is mediocre because of not so impactful scenes and unimpressive drama.
Initial portions are good and enjoyable. The protagonist’s love story takes off on an entertaining note. First half of the film is largely passable. Real trouble starts in the second half where the protagonist needs to take firm steps towards success. This part is criminally underwritten and it seems as if the director is just passing the time before entering the climax part. And the climax part turns out to be a major disappointment as it appears too silly and contrived.
Chitralahari does well in ticking some boxes right. It has a likable lead character and a fairly decent romantic track. The characters are fleshed out and the songs are on the money. A few well-written scenes and dialogues keep the film from falling flat. But it didn’t have a strong and emotional second half that is a must to make it a must watch. It is an okay film if you go for killing the time, but it doesn’t offer much to take home. Sai Tej is trying but he needs to focus on spotting the right scripts.
Verdict: Sorry Glass-mate!