A royal touch to love-honour conflict

A royal touch to love-honour conflict

Chandra
Kannada (U) ¬¬¬
Director: Roopa Iyer
Cast: Prem Kumar, Shriya Saran and others

After a tantalising glimpse in Puneeth Rajkumar’s Arasu, Shriya Saran finally comes before Kannada audiences as Chandravathi or Chandra in short. With a steady and growing fan base in Tamil and Telugu industries, Shriya has no dearth of seetis, chappales and the oohs, aahs and wows whenever she is shown up and close.

Either by herself or with Prem Kumar or when the camera tries to play peekaboo with her sophisticated, yet fragile sensuality. Fresh from a strong performance in Pavitra, the actress flits across frames while not bewitching further those already mesmerised by her beauty and flair in acting.

The blame partly lies with the script and yes, cinematography and editing. The plot is practically non-existent. But even without a story, it would have still been possible to have had a tight script, to give the story drama or even a modicum of entertainment. The bright spots of this film are the leads.

Sadly, the grand vista of this story does not allow them to please fans more — the princess’ sword practicing scene being an example.

To her credit, the director creates the right ambience and gets her characters’ costumes mostly right. The class divide’s intrusion in the way of love is handled with care. But the contradictions of condeming that very opulence — in the form of the Mysore royal house — which the characters seem to celebrate, may leave the audience confused. Oh, but this is cinema and a certain amount of leeway is assumed. And so, time to focus on the positives. First and foremost, the feel and look of the film.

Chandra is a lavish production. But knowingly or unknowingly, Roopa Iyer holds a mirror to the general sense of apathy of citizens towards heritage, or towards anything worth preserving. Ganesh Venkataraman lends the “modern” touch nicely without resorting to stereotyped negativity. Vivek’s debut is a waste — if not for the variety he offers as a comedian, for an audience fed on the Sadhu-Rangayana Raghu-Bullet Prakash diet of gags.

The others like Srinath, Dharma, Padmavasanthi, Sumitra, Vijayakumar and Sukanya remain in the background. After all, this is a love story about a modern-day princess and a commoner. Prem and Shriya tease and delight the audience with their expressions and body language. Gautam Srivatsa’s music with evocative lyrics heighten the sense of yearning.

All in all, Chandra mesmerises like a full moon but the pleasure wanes in the company of avoidable mistakes.

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