At a time when more and more Malayalam films that hinge on a young cast have been about ‘finding meaning in life’ (as they say), ‘Charlie’, the latest offering from Martin Prakkat, takes a similar plot ahead and ties it with powerful threads of love and compassion.
Yes, ‘Charlie’ is a feel-good movie, but it does not stop there. It plays around brilliantly with raw emotions centred around a character who wants to be free like the wind and bring smiles on peoples’ faces. ‘Charlie’ (Dulquer Salmaan) is a vagabond who, dressed in Bohemian attire, flits from one place to another doing good deeds and cementing a spot in the hearts of those he meets. Following him in what becomes a wild goose chase is Tessa (Parvathy), an animated young graphic designer who runs out of her home to realize her dreams. It is when Tessa moves into a dingy old room that was once occupied by ‘Charlie’ and chances upon an incomplete story that the film picks up pace. Bit by bit, page by page, ‘Tessa’ begins to discover wacky and strange stories about ‘Charlie’ and finds herself attracted to the charms of a man whom she has never met. Along the way, there are several characters that range from a goat-herder to a boatman who guide ‘Tessa’ on her way to finding ‘Charlie’.
More than anything, it is the cinematography coupled with some intelligent storytelling that brings out the best flavours in the movie. The scenes are shot in the gorgeous of locations, from far-reaching tea gardens to a greyish town that sits on the coast of the Arabian Sea. A melodious background score from Gopi Sunder blends in well.
For a film that gravitates and leans too much on the central character, Dulquer clearly does not disappoint. On the back of a string of strong performances in ‘Ustad Hotel’, ‘Bangalore Days’ and ‘ABCD’, Dulquer or ‘Kunjikka’ as he is lovingly called by his fans, has set the bar indeed high with this role. Complementing perfectly is Parvathy as the girl looking for love, her eyes shining with hope and her dreams unfettered. Aparna Gopinath, KPSC Lalitha, Nedumudi Venu, Kalpana play out roles that revolve around the love story, but whose individual parts are critical to the movement of the film.
For a plot that has oodles of humour but most importantly stays true in its course, Martin Prakkat along with Unni R, who co-wrote the script, must be applauded for crafting a film that entertains as well as deliberates on the art of leading a happy life. If you haven’t watched it yet, go catch it now.
Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Parvathy, Aparna Gopinath, Nedumudi Venu
Direction: Martin Prakkat