2 Hr 38 Mins | Thriller | 28-09-2023
Cast - Raghava Lawrence, Kangana Ranaut, Vadivelu, Radhika Sarathkumar, Lakshmi Menon, Rao Ramesh and others
Director - P. Vasu
Producer - Subhaskaran
Banner - Lyca Productions
Music - M.M. Keeravani
Chandramukhi was a classic blockbuster featuring Rajinikanth, Jyotika and Nayantara. 18 years later, director P Vasu attempts Chandramukhi 2 with Lawrence, Lakshmi Menon and Mahima Nambiar. Since Chandramukhi was quite a popular film, its franchise has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s check whether P Vasu took advantage or succumbed to disadvantages.
What is it about?
Family of Ranganayaki (Radhika Sarathkumar) is unhappy due to a slew of issues. Guruji (Rao Ramesh) advises her to visit their ancestral village and perform special poojas at their ancestral temple. Estranged relative Madan (Lawrence) reunites with the family to help them. The family realises that the Temple is in quite bad condition and the deity wasn’t receiving any pooja. They decide to resume the Temple functioning and they decide to stay at a nearby Palace run by Basavayya (Vadivelu). However, this pushes the family into more trouble. One of the family members, Divya, (Lakshmi Menon) becomes possessed by Chandramukhi’s spirit in the palace. This reawakens the feud between classical dancer Chandramukhi and Vettai/Singotayya from centuries ago. The story is whether the family would be able to defeat Chandramukhi and restore peace within the family.
Chandramukhi (2005) was known for its outstanding performances of Jyotika, Rajinikanth and Nayantara besides others. So naturally, expectations on Chandramukhi 2 is to either surpass Chandramukhi or at least meet them. Unfortunately, Chandramukhi 2 falls miserably in all counts acting-wise. There is no match to the elegant performances of the predecessor. Lawrence doesn’t fit in the shoes of Rajini. Lakshmi Menon brings her own performance without mimicking Jyotika which is laudable. However, she failed to scare audiences. Kangana Ranaut and her presence is a blessing in disguise. However, Kangana’s screen time is little. She manages to leave some impact. Her beauty, dance and acting holds some interest in the proceedings. Vadivelu sticks to his usual style, be it mannerisms or humour, he just repeats his act. The humour is also the same as what he did 17 years ago in the Chandramukhi. Rao Ramesh is alright as the Guru.
Director Vasu picks quite familiar plot of Chandramukhi and sticks to the same old point for this too. The story and writing is not developed beyond a point. Visual effects are not on par with today’s quality. Surprisingly MM Keeravani, who is in the limelight for his work in RRR, disappointed with his songs. Background music is alright. The film’s narration suffers due to its pace. Dubbing suffers too. Technically, it is underwhelming work for a film like Chandramukhi 2.
Concept & Franchise
It’s been 18 years since Chandramukhi released. The film might have been old, yet it is still very fresh in the minds and hearts of people. So certainly it’s a Herculean task to meet or surpass those expectations. Director P Vasu nowhere could deliver a substantial product that can match the earlier standards.
Just a few minutes into the film, it is easy to understand that director Vasu is struggling to recreate the magic of yesteryear’s classic film. And the film just goes from bad to worse as the story progresses. Until Kangana Ranaut enters the scene. She rescues the film to an extent and holds some interest in the proceedings.
The major problem lies in its writing which is just a rehash of the erstwhile film. Director Vasu sticks to the old plot – either due to fear of whether audiences accept the fresh one or due to lack of fresh ideas. This naturally puts off audiences who are quite familiar with the plot and story of the classic. The film is full of nostalgia and devoid of interesting elements. While there are some minor changes in this part, even those changes have failed to engage the viewers. There are no thrills and no scary moments in the film. Even the comedy portions didn’t work. Vadivelu and his banter with Lawrence is unimpressive.
The casting is also not on par with the erstwhile film. Barring Kangana, there are no solid performances and towering actors. Somehow, the current casting failed to create impact like how Rajinikanth, Jyotika and Nayantara did. Technically too, the film has its own flaws. VFX work is not upto the mark. In a nutshell, Chandramukhi 2 is skippable. Even kids may not enjoy this version of Chandramukhi 2.
Verdict: Neither Thrills Nor Scares!