In Chattambi, the idea is ultimately built around the discrimination faced by the central character Karia. However, the Shakespearian-style gangster drama doesn’t have consistency in maintaining the drama. Chattambi is a movie that tries to show the other side of how someone gets labeled as a goon. Even though it starts off impressively, the impact wasn’t solid enough to make us empathize with the leading man.
Zakaria, aka Karia, is a local goon who is the main henchman of John, who runs a private financing company. The short-tempered nature of Karia was suitable for the job, and John gained a lot with Karia by his side. But the constant discrimination he faced while working with John makes Karia think about being self-sufficient and how that thought leads to a rift between the two is what we see in Chattambi.
Chattambi is not precisely a character study. Because the movie isn’t always focusing on the Chattambi. The disposable nature of that tag and how people with those tags are usually used is what they want to show in the film. Alex Joseph, who has penned the movie along with cinematography, is interested in establishing the world around Karia. He prefers the style of setting the conflict along with establishing the characters through a flashback narrative. I think that method was an attempt to generate a certain sense of curiosity in the viewer’s mind. But the flatness of the narrative couldn’t be enhanced through that pattern. Even when they reveal the real culprit in the movie’s final act, Chattambi feels just like a statement about class exploitation, and it can’t induce a sense of disturbance.
Sreenath Bhasi, as the central character Karia, fits the mold. The impulsive and abusive nature was portrayed convincingly by the actor. Chemban Vinod Jose played the character of John in his typical style. Binu Pappu as Baby gets to play a very grounded character, and he was good at it. Mythili as Raji was memorable, and in terms of scope to perform, I would say it was Grace Antony as Sicily who got the meatier role in the whole film. Guru Somasundaram gets a role that was easily forgettable.
Abhilash S Kumar makes his debut as a director with Chattambi and prefers to narrate the movie in a minimalistic way. Even though violence and deceit are part of the narrative, Abhilash is not going after a stylized visualization for that. The problem I felt was with the way the screenplay was written to accommodate so many characters. Towards the interval block, when Binu Pappu’s character goes through a patch of dilemma, it feels a bit hurried and deliberate. There are many characters like that in the movie who never gets a proper arc, and the detours to show the impulsiveness of Karia feel more like distractions. The cinematography prefers that static style for most of the runtime, and occasionally it slips into that onlooker perspective through handheld shots.
At its core, Chattambi is a political film that wants to talk about the class divide and how the upper class always makes sure nobody rises above them. But the spread-out format of Chattambi rarely allows the movie to make the viewer think about the discrimination which was visible at every juncture. Barring a few performances, Chattambi doesn’t stay with you in terms of the drama it had in its content.
Barring a few performances, Chattambi doesn't stay with you in terms of the drama it had in its content.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended