Retro Review - We present the reviews of some of the films that offer great cinematic experience as if they are released now (currently). We present the content in such a way that we have just come out of the theater and penned out our thoughts fresh. You can enjoy the reviews and relive the moments in a different way. And try to watch the films like they're new, once again.
Today's pick is the romantic film Cheli.
Director - Gautham Menon
Music - Harris Jayaraj
Cast - Madhavan, Reema Sen, Abbas, Nagesh, Vivek
Gautham Menon's Cheli is a romantic film for those who believe in 'Love At First Sight' and 'All Is Fair In Love and War'. A run-of-the-mill story which strikes a chord with the youth due to its narrative and music. The film gifted two talents to film industry - director Gautham Menon and composer Harris Jayaraj, the rest is history.
The film opens to Maddy aka Rajesh (Madhavan) a Mechanical Engineering student and Sam (Abbas) at logger heads with each other in college. Rajesh has an aversion towards his lady classmates and he explicitly shows it. He is the stereotypical Mech student ( as shown in most films) who leads a disarrayed life compared to the studious Sam who is the darling of the faculty and fellow students. Their brawl in college turns bitter and ends up with each swearing that they would never meet each other in life.
Sam flies to the United States whereas Rajesh stays back due to his attachment towards his granddad fondly called Subbunni (Nagesh). Nagesh, the veteran is charismatic and is full of vigor playing the best friend to his grandson. On a trip to Bangalore, Rajesh sees a girl at night dancing in the rain. He catches a glimpse of her in a flash of lightning and he knows that he has fallen in love at the first sight. She hits him hard as the lightning, kindling soft feelings in an otherwise unromantic man. He is truly smitten by her. He meets her again a couple of times and his whining over his lady love to his friends is indeed a delight to watch. Peppered with funny lines, Vivek is at the forefront and gives the comic relief. He deftly handles the comedy track, something that is inseparable in films.
After getting details about the girl, he finds out that she is Reena and that she is engaged to her dad's friend's son named Rajiv, who she hasn't met before. After being goaded by his friends and Subbunni, Rajesh impersonates as Rajiv to win Reena. She too falls for his romantic ways. But we do wonder if any girl, and a CA at that (well she is one in the film) would be so dumb enough to fall for a guy this instantly. Let us keep that logic aside and we believe that Reena is the weakest among Gautham Menon's heroines who is not level-headed and who could be seduced this soon. We wonder why no one spoke about impersonating to win over a girl or that stalking someone is a strict no-no. But as we know - All is fair in love and war.
But the romance is cute and Madhavan is a perfect pick as the lover boy. Reena is beautiful and looks ethereal but needs an acting tutorial. The dialogues are cheesy but can be enjoyed. Well, Madhavan did get the quintessential lover boy image in the industry post the film. The music by Harris Jayaraj elevates the scenes and the romantic milieu and takes us to fairyland. The song Manohar is one of the best romantic songs and the lyrics ooze pure love.
The real Rajiv turns up and Reena realizes that she had been tricked into a relationship with an impersonator. Despite Rajesh's efforts to convince Reena, she does not relent. Rajiv is Rajesh's college foe Sam whose real name is Rajiv Samuel. Things go for worse now as both the men love Reena. But Rajesh decides to leave for an overseas project as he has failed to gain the trust of his love. The film finally ends with Sam realizing that his fiancee loves Rajesh and hands her over to him. He confronts Rajesh at the airport and says that he has managed to win over Reena in 5 days (groan!)
Madhavan is a charmer in the film. His dimpled smile makes anyone fall head over heels in love with him. As said, Reena is ornamental in the film. Kudos to Abbas for his brief screen presence and both the handsome men fight it out for a pretty lass. Full marks to veteran Nagesh, he is pure class, in his dialogue delivery, in his unbound love for grandson and his comic timing. Also, Vivek as Rajesh's friend has left us in splits many times with his hilarious comedy, especially in the scene where the duo's bike hits a lorry.
Gautham Menon debuted as the director with this romantic flick. The newcomer has carried the film efficiently, especially with a team where most of the cast and crew are relatively new. He looked promising in his directorial skills and Gautham is presently known for his class in handling romantic themes. Harris Jayaraj deserves the most special mention as his scores and tunes were phenomenal and lifted the film this high. The love did look pristine with his hum-worthy and soulful tunes.
Cheli has hit not only Maddy but also the audience like a lightning. Enjoy it for the breezy romance and soulful music.
Reviewed by Divya Nair