CHARULATHA FILM REVIEW




CHARULATHA (2012)






Director: Pon Kumaran
Casts: Priyamani, Skanda, Saranya, Seetha
Music: Sundar C Babu
Language: Tamil
Genre: Horror

Charulatha is a Tamil remake of the Thai horror hit, ‘Alone’.  Horror films always excite Tamil audiences due to the rarity of the subject but Charulatha comes with a unique theme of conjoined twins which injects more curiosity to it. Touted to be a terrifying super natural thriller, does Charulatha impacts as the original? 

Synopsis

Charulatha starts off with a glimpse of the past of two conjoined twins, Charu and Latha (Priyamani) raised by a single parent (Saranya). It then cuts to present where Charu and her boyfriend reside far away from her mother. However her mother gets admitted in hospital which makes Charu travel back to her hometown. Things start to turn a little creepy, when thoughts of Latha start to torment Charu which she believes is a sign of revenge of late Latha’s spirit. The film then progresses slowly revealing many twists and turns which eventually concludes with a shocking climax.

Story Screenplay

Charulatha stays 60 per cent honest to the original which is commendable. The parts which reflect the original film have been nicely executed by the director. The mood and lighting have also been reflected very well supporting the theme of the film. The flashback scenes and the concept of violin classes show the innovation of the director. The flashbacks are one of the main strength of the film as it sticks in your mind throughout.

However, the film’s main problem is that it is crafted in a way which might turn out to be predictable rather than shocking. Moreover, it contains lame humour tracks which sticks out as a sore thumb. Honestly, it can also be considered as the biggest drawback of the film. The song placements, also detoriates the novel theme of the film. The director loses his way by adding mediums and their own theory about the problems which creates a messy downfall for the film.

What made ‘Alone’ frightening were not cheap scares and gimmicks, but the clear sets ups and pay backs which are seriously missing in Charulatha.

In overall if only the director have stayed honest and focus throughout the film, Charulatha’s screenplay might have been more thrilling.
 

Casting & Performance

Priyamani’s performance is one of the main highlight of the film. The national award winning actress proves that her talent is not a light flash but a prominent one by delivering a splendid performance. Her different voice modulations and body language of the two characters are brought out very well. However it hits a bit over the line at the climax.

Skanda has nothing much to offer while Saranya shines despite her brief role. Extended role of the doctor, essayed by Seetha, sadly turns out to be an unintended humour.

In overall, Priyamani’s performance really elevates the film which makes it worth a watch.


Technicality

In a film like Charulatha, technical team is very important as it is the main factor which will end up lifting the whole presentation, infringing fear on the audiences.
Paneer Selvam’s cinematography is well done with greatly executed mood lightings. 

However the setting chosen by the director and the art director seems to be too cheery for a horror film. For example during the scene where the coffee stain turns into blood , the bright lighting and normal environment defeats the whole horror element intended by the original writer.

On top of that, Sundar C Babu’s music is also another sore element to the film.

The visual effects are ok but at certain scenes it looks gimmicky. It feels that they are trying hard to bring out the horror element by jarring effects which gives the opposite effect. Nevertheless, the scenes of the conjoined twins are realistically executed. 

In overall, except the cinematography, other departments end up as a let-down.


Conclusion

‘Alone’ was a classic due to its subtle psychological treatment given to it. However in Charulatha, director Pon Kumaran makes too much compromise assuming the taste of his audience and digs a deep downfall, leaving his lead actress to lift up the film a little.


Verdict: Cheap thrill

Rating: 1.5/5

 

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