Chithirai Sevvanam Movie Review: Bland writing makes this well-intentioned film a tedious watch
Chithirai Sevvanam is bogged down by an overwhelming sense of déjà vu
Chithirai Sevvanam is the latest entrant in the never-ending list of films made on men turning vigilantes, following the violation of a woman's privacy. Action-choreographer Stunt Silva makes his directorial debut with this film, about which the best you can say is that it has noble intentions.
Muthupandi (Samuthirakani) is a humble farmer, who wants to make his daughter Aishwarya (Pooja) a doctor, so he can overcome the tragedy of his wife's (Vidya Pradeep) death, caused by the lack of proper medical facilities in his town. Muthupandi dotes over his daughter, who tops her school exams and gets enrolled in a private institution for NEET preparations. However, tragedy strikes in the form of a missing Aishwarya after a naked video of hers gets circulated. The nondescript village in Pollachi serves to remind us of the horror of a similar real-life case.
Director: Stunt Silva
Cast: Samuthirakani, Pooja Kannan, Rima Kallingal
Written by Thalaivii director Vijay, the story of Chithirai Sevvanam feels real, but the bland, uninventive screenwriting doesn’t help. It also doesn’t help that we are constantly reminded of many similar stories like Taken, Drishyam, Eesan, Whistle... This film’s villains are generic and reminiscent of the rich, influential villain prototype. The filmmaking is rather old-fashioned and tells more than it shows, but even the dialogue-heavy scenes don’t really brim with wit and insight. As for the sensitivity, a three-minute-long rape scene in this film isn't exactly shot with sensitivity and the explicit nature of the picturisation warrants a trigger warning.
Samuthirakani's portrayal of the naive, doting father is melodramatic, but the actor does make this work. Pooja Kannan, in her debut outing, puts on a neat performance but work is clearly needed on the dubbing. On her comeback to Tamil after a decade, Rima Kallingal deserved a better role. She plays a tough cop, and while she’s supposed to be a smart officer, it takes her unusually long to connect the dots and find the criminals. In fact, a hooded vigilante seems to do a better job at this investigation.
Chithirai Sevvanam does try to deliver a progressive message, including having a cop say, "Oru videovaala un vazhkai mudinju poga poradhilla..." And yet, the same film ends with a final quote that goes, "Namadhu pennaiyum mannayum nam kangalaai kaapom..." It may take our cinema a long time to learn the idea that women aren’t properties to be ‘protected’.