I almost never cover southern trailers, because I am never sure what is a big deal and what is a small deal and what I should say about things. But in this case, I KNOW these two are big deals and I know what I want to say about them, so I am just going for it.
Mani Ratnam is always always a big deal. And the first thing to say is, this is really really fast! His movies tend to come two or three years apart, this one is only a year after his last, and it is a complicated film. I’m a little nervous about his ability to pull the whole thing together in just a year, but then it’s Mani, he can do anything. Except make Gautham Karthik into a good actor (Kadal. Such a nightmare).
Also a bit odd, there is no music in this trailer. Kaatru Velidiyai, his last film, was promoted primarily through the music. Not that he was leaning on Rahman to carry the film, but that the songs so perfectly evoked the mood he wanted, it was better to simply use them to promote the film rather than anything else. In this trailer, no songs. Perhaps a personal choice, wanting to evoke a gritty feel without music. But still odd, Rahman is listed as the composer so I know the songs are brilliant. Or maybe it’s just one song, one big one off song number that will get its own trailer?
Moving on from there, let’s talk content! There are 4 heroes and 3 heroines, plus Prakash Raj. It looks like a Godfather treatment, but then spins off in another direction. Prakash Raj is the gangster, Arvind Swamy is his violent older son and presumed heir. Arun Vijay is the educated younger son who hides ambitions to take over. So far, total Godfather. But where it takes a twist is the introduction of the 3rd son, the forgotten one living overseas, Silambarasan. And then the real shocker, a 4th hero! Vijay Sethupathi, the unconventional cop who is going after them.
And then there’s the heroines. Jyothika, Aishwarya Rajesh, and Aditi Rao Hydari. Jyothika, seemingly, is the usual strong supportive wife, while Aishwarya is the nagging angry fiery one. And Aditi is the crusading news reporter. So, wife, nag, and saint. Except it’s Mani Ratnam, so I expect him to break out of those stereotypes.
I expect him to break out of all the stereotypes! I expect all of these characters to interact in ways you wouldn’t expect from their basic introductions in the trailer. And I expect him to break our expectations of these actors as well.
It’s an interesting cast in that way. Arvind Swamy and Mani Ratnam have worked together a lot, but this looks to be a very different kind of performance than Ratnam has ever asked for from him. Arun Vijay has played villains and done his own stunts and has been working for almost two decades without always being noticed. And now Ratnam is having him play the educated middle son, the “Michael” character. Silambarasan is the real surprise to me, he has had such consistent stories of unprofessional onset behavior, being just impossible to work with, and this is a complicated multi-starrer that was filmed in no time flat. Either the stories are exaggerated, or he put all of that aside for the chance to work with Ratnam. And I wonder why he was cast? What is it about him as an actor that made Ratnam think it would be worth risking all the stories of his bad behavior to have him in this role?
Oh, and then the obvious comment I am sure everyone will make-Mani Ratnam returns to crime! I wonder if this will end up closing a trilogy? Nayakan, Thalapathi, and now Chekka Chivantha Vaanam.
I have much less to say about the other trailer. Devadas, Nani and Nagarjuna are united. Mostly all I have to say is that this trailer makes me think they will have great chemistry. Nani is so perfectly odd in an almost Chaplinesque way. And Nagarjuna is such a perfect straight man. I have no idea what this movie is about or anything else, but I am excited to see the two of them work together.