We have seen many siblings falling in love with the same man and their qualities and looks are very formulaic. One is always a bit modern and the other has to be a plain Jane preferably be-spectacled. While the former would be scheming, the latter will be known for her sweet nature.

Here there is a difference, the girls are siamese twins, Charu (without glasses) and Latha promise to live as conjoined twins till they breathe their last. Cupid strikes Charu and the jealous sibling makes life a hell for her. The similar qualities and love give way to conflicting thoughts and differences and jealousy tears them apart and the mother decides to separate them by an operation.

The movie opens showing the growing years of the girls, at first the babies are shown stuck to each other. Charu lives in Kashmir with her boyfriend Ravi (Skandha) whom she intends to marry and rushes to her hometown as her mother (Saranya) is hospitalised. Once Charu reaches home, problems arise and horror strikes. She imagines, believes and then confirms that it is her sister Latha who is still present in the house. The story takes a turn towards the latter part of the film when Ravi realises that Charu is in fact dead and Latha impersonates her by wearing contact lenses and dates him. She compels him to marry her but Ravi refuses.

The director succeeds in keeping the suspense till the film builds into the final moments. On one occasion Latha goes crazy slapping Ravi and one is not clear if Charu’s spirit has entered her body or if Latha has behavioural problems. Making a movie on developmental disabilities needs skill. Director Pon Kumaran focuses on the negative character that comes alive but also doesn’t miss the focus on the sibling bondage. The sister asks ‘do you want to leave a sister of 20 years for a man of 20 days acquaintance?’ She talks about her emotions, living with guilt as her sister dies due to an accident, mother still misunderstanding her and the frustration and inability to understand why Ravi is not accepting her love after her identity has been revealed.

The tantrik has an abrupt exit from the story.The introduction song of the heroine after the first two scenes is very filmi. A coconut turning dark and a psychiatrist have become inevitable characters in the genre. The film is okay as a narrative but when one tends to call it a horror film, we cannot relate. We see the film with a degree of indifference as there’s nothing to get scared of. The entertainment is in the form of a kid and his obese sister but the track falls flat. Priyamani is undoubtedly a good actor, has had her fill as a glamorous heroine and her choice of films henceforth will determine her place in the industry. Saranya and Skandha did a decent job. Music isn’t too good but the camera capitalises on the environment designed perfectly to bolster the narrative. Charulatha is a copy of Thai film.

CHARULATHA

Cast: Priyamani, Skandha

Director: Pon Kumaran

Music: Sunder C Babu

Genre: Thriller

Plot: Unhappy soul takes revenge

Bottomline: The twist is good, but the anger difficult to comprehend

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Telugu Cinema ReviewsOctober 18, 2011