Roopa Iyer’s latest offering ‘Chandra’ unfolds like a typical romance novel. Maharani Chandravati, played by Shriya Saran, falls for the utterly inappropriate (for a princess, that is) muscle bound son of the palace physician, also called Chandra (played by Prem Kumar). Besides sharing a name, the twosome also have slim, toned waist lines and a propensity to showcase said waistline in transparent costumes. And this is just enough to kick start an ‘intense’ courtship carefully documented over two songs, one fight sequence and the requisite lip lock scene. The royal family, completely oblivious to this romance, continue their search for a suitable groom for Chandravati and settle on the NRI royal played by a vampire-white Ganesh Venkatraman. Torn between following her heart or giving in to her family’s wishes, the Princess finds herself in a very uncomfortable position. The events that lead to her decision make up the rest of the movie.
Sounds familiar? Because watching Chandra is akin to binge viewing a hundred other tamil movies. It offers nothing new in terms of plot or dialogues; most scenes are directly lifted from prominent movies (with many reminiscent of Jodhaa Akbar); the script writing in particular, is a major let down. The stellar supporting cast featuring Vijayakumar, Sumithra, Vivek and the lot, are let down by the script. As a result, the characters they play seem one dimensional and are difficult to relate to.
In spite of this being a bilingual movie shot in Tamil and Kannada simultaneously, the movie has the distinct look and feel of a dubbed movie. Most of the supporting cast are alien to us with the exception of comedian Vivek , actor Vijayakumar and yesteryear heroine Sumithra. In true Tamil ‘ishtyle,’ there are one too many contrived scenes – a dupatta flies away and wraps itself artfully around the hero’s neck, the heroine falls down and is caught by the hero and so on.
Kannada actor Prem makes his Tamil debut with this movie as Chandrahassan. Be it the inane chase sequence where he chases a petty thief across Kashi and then onto what looks like the Himalayas (all under two minutes, mind it) or the much hyped mock fight sequence between the two Chandra’s (remember Jodhaa Akbar?) , the actor does his best to save the scenes from unintentional hilarity. All the script allows him o do is lose the shirt a couple of times and stare with great intensity at Shriya’s abs.
Shriya Saran is gorgeous as the other Chandra, emotes well and turns in a decent performance. Her Chandra is an amalgamation of all the roles the actress has previously played and she looks jaded throughout the movie. She pouts her way through the sole item number and dances provocatively through another ‘wedding’ song (why?!).
What could have been an earnest account of a love story that breaks down class barriers instead becomes a recycled hash of a movie with little to recommend it.