Arjun (Sushanth, in a refreshing turnaround from the films he’s done so far) is 27 and under pressure to get married before he hits the dreaded 30 mark — the number that heralds the ‘over the hill’ phase in the arranged marriage market. Haven’t many of us been through or witness to similar experiences? Actor Rahul Ravindran who’s making his directorial debut begins the film with this relatable thread and sets it up like a feel-good romantic comedy.
Arjun is a nice guy but isn’t ready to commit himself to a bond of a lifetime. His reasons are actually excuses — he has his goals that include buying a luxury car and travelling single to Europe. Some of us have been through that phase wondering what the lifetime commitment would entail and have tried to buy some time, a few more years to just be. As usual, there’s the mother (a very charming Anu Hassan) trying every trick in the book to make Arjun fall in line. There’s also the friend (Vennela Kishore) as a standing example of ‘over 30 and not yet married’.
What happens when Arjun is pitched against a woman who is more sure-footed, has had a rough life and still stays afloat with poise? The juxtaposing of Arjun and Anjali (debutante Ruhani Sharma is a welcome addition to Telugu cinema) happens through a slightly unconventional ‘pelli choopulu’ that goes haywire.
Gently teasing us with fun sequences, the director slips in something deeper that can come in the way of budding relationships, especially when they follow the traditional arranged marriage trajectory when the prospective bride and groom are expected to have a definite answer after a meeting or two. This is where Chi La Sow breaks free of the rom-com mood and talks about relationships that need to have the strength to deal with not-so-rosy life situations with a measure of compassion. Sometimes, it’s neither easy to say ‘yes’ nor walk away with a firm ‘no’.
The narrative unfolds beautifully showing Arjun and Anjali as they are. He trying to understand the serious side of life and she struggling to break free from the iron-like armour she’s cloaked herself in.
Everything happens on one night when the two are thrown into unexpected situations. It’s not easy holding the attention with a small bunch of characters that are regular people, not larger than life, not oddball ones that do something bizarre to spike up interest.
Chi La Sow takes us into its fold, nudging us to stay with its pace and understand the layers of its key characters and the whirlwind of emotions. Sushanth and Ruhani Sharma sparkle through their journey. In their brief parts, Rohini, Vidyu Raman and Rahul Ramakrishna are convincing while Vennela Kishore, within his limited screen time, brings in the much-needed humour as he goes through messy situations in his trademark poker-faced style.
There are phases where the conversation doesn’t go beyond the absolute necessity and music composer Prashanth Vihari rises up to the occasion with a pleasing background score. The ‘ Mellaga mellaga ’ song is an icing on the cake.
Chi La Sow
Cast : Sushanth, Ruhani Sharma and Vennela Kishore
Direction : Rahul Ravindran