The U certification for Charulatha is surprising, because eeriness, paranormal activities and the suffering of the spirit seeking revenge may not be exactly suitable for children. That apart, Charulatha has a few scenes dubbed into Tamil, though most of it has been re-shot to warrant a straight Tamil film tag. Touted as a bi-lingual in Tamil and Kannada, Charulatha could have been a big break for Priya Mani. Her performance, particularly in the climax, is commendable, but neither the story nor the screenplay helps her make it memorable.
But for a few changes, first-time director Pon Kumaran has almost entirely borrowed the story of the popular Thai film, Alone, and has tried to infuse a few elements to suit our milieu. The sorcerer, for instance, who is an indispensable factor in our ghost films! Incidentally, in trying to pass off a classy scene of action as Vedaranyam in the South, he affects the credibility of the narration straightway.
As film buffs await the entry of Maattrraan, said to be a story of a pair of Siamese twins, Charulatha which also deals with such a twosome has managed to come out first. The idea of a story of conjoined twins sounds novel all right, but the effort to make it convincing doesn’t seem enough. So most of the time it’s like two girls putting their arms around one another! No strain, no pain, no suffering — except for their measured steps while walking, they seem to be quite comfortable as they are! In these days of hi-tech exercises in cinema Charulatha’s attempt at CG, appears insufficient.
Physically inseparable sisters Charu and Latha (Priya Mani) are great friends. But when they turn twenty, and Charu falls in love, jealousy and inimicality step in, and that spells doom for one of them. The suspense and the revelation in the climax are interestingly unravelled but when you know that they are borrowed plumes of a Thai inspiration, you can’t appreciate Pon Kumaran for it. Loopholes in the line are evident, narration confuses you at times and editing does little to help matters.
Skanda from Malayalam cinema plays the hero, but his role is restricted to comforting the heroine, who dreads the spirit that haunts the house. He plays a mere second fiddle to the twin heroines.
An actor of Saranya’s calibre is wasted in the role of the mother, because she’s confined to the bed most of the time. When children are made to talk like adults the irritation could be suffocating. Master Manjunath, the boy who plays comedienne Harthi’s sister, gets on your nerves.
Songs or RR, Sundar C. Babu’s music for Charulatha isn’t appealing. But the significant solo violin bits are an exception.
For those who wish to watch the spirits of the dead that don’t frighten you much!
Director: Pon Kumaran
Cast: Priya Mani, Skanda
Storyline: When conjoined twins don’t get along …
Bottomline: Not doing enough justice to the borrowed line