Chalakkudikkaran Changathi (2018) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


Vinayan’s ‘Chalakkudikkaran Changathi’ is ultimately undone by the flaws in its script. It hardly lays bare the multiple layers that made Mani’s persona appear so appealing and complex to people like us, a principal failing that leaves Mani’s screen portrait a far from perfect one.


Chalakkudikkaran-Changathi-Malayalam-Movie-Review-Veeyen

Vinayan goes all slack in his biopic entitled ‘Chalakkudikkaran Changathi’ that is based on an eventful, much discussed life – that of actor Kalabhavan Mani. It’s a  film that attempts to be an epic, and appears empty; a film that easily lets its fascinating chief character slip away between the uninspiring scenes.

Rajamani (Senthil Krishna) dreams of becoming an actor some day, even as he earns a living climbing coconut trees. He starts off with a miniscule scene in a film that ends up a disappointment, but steadily works his way up the ladder, and soon becomes a recognizable name in showbiz. It’s not long before he locks horns with a few industry giants, with ruinous consequences.

Chalakkudikkaran Changathi

Much water has passed under the bridge, but Vinayan decides to stick to his tried and tested modus operandi, that once had produced quite a few hits. But this is a film that probably merited a far more subtle and sombre approach, especially given the manner in which Kalabhavan Mani is revered by many a Malayali across the globe.

Loud as it is, ‘Chalakkudikkaran Changathi’ appears quite wan right from the start, and wobbles even in the scenes that depict Rajamani’s rough childhood that smacked of poverty and hunger. This is pell-mell storytelling, and it shows right through, with jerks and jolts appearing in between when Rajamani’s life changes for good.

Chalakkudikkaran Changathi

The major reason why ‘Chalakkudikkaran Changathi’ flounders is that it is feebly conceived and even more clumsily constructed. There are quite a few scenes that remind you of a high school drama stage, with some credible actors trying out their very best to deliver from an almost unproductive script.

There are several allusions to real characters that ring a bell somewhere, and there is even a director Hari (Karamana Sudheer), who has a striking resemblance to the film maker himself. Vianayan even has a Thilaklan-lookalike walk in, and verbalize an admonishment to a group of vaguely familiar faces and names, who appear as the villains of the piece.

The satire and the suggestive references all flat, and barely move up beyond the level of inquisitiveness that it generates. The writing is again patchy here, the bite severely missing, and some of these theatrical outbursts even appear inconsequential.  It is laboured drama that looks and sounds redundant.

Chalakkudikkaran Changathi

As for the controversies surrounding Mani’s unfortunate demise, Vinayan glides over them with a vague cautiousness that almost tactfully retains the mystery that has remained ever since the actor passed away. Hardly anything illuminating here either.

The best thing about ‘Chalakkudikkaran Changathi’ is of course Senthil Krishna and the genuineness with which the young actor strives to bring Kalabhavan Mani back to life. Senthil deserves all the accolades for his earnestness, and it’s distressing that his sincerity is wasted in a narrative that simply brushes over the celebrated actor’s life.

Vinayan’s ‘Chalakkudikkaran Changathi’ is ultimately undone by the flaws in its script. It hardly lays bare the multiple layers that made Mani’s persona appear so appealing and complex to people like us, a principal failing that leaves Mani’s screen portrait a far from perfect one.


Verdict: Disappointing


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