Rating 6.5/10 (Innovative Rom-Com)
Cast: Sushant, Ruhani Sharma, Vennela Kishore, Rohini, Anu Hasan, Vidyulekha Raman, Sanjay Swaroop,
Story-Screenplay-Dialogues-Direction: Rahul Ravindran
Producer: Akkineni Nagarjuna
Banner: Annapurna Studios
After making notable appearances in Ala Ela and Srimanthudu, actor Rahul Ravindran has turned a director. He makes his directorial debut with a film titled Chi La Sow. Featuring faded Akkineni scion Sushant Anumolu in the lead, the film also stars debutante Ruhani Sharma and Vennela Kishore. Touted to be a new age love story, can the film give Sushant a much need break? Let's find out in this review
Plot: Arjun (Sushant) is a Salman Khan fan and a devotee of Hanuman and wants to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life. Despite his age of only 27, his parents are pressuring him to get married. He attends a matchmaking session with Anjali (Ruhani Sharma) and what happens next follows this innovative love story that all unfolds in the span of 24 hours.
Performances: After a long gap, Sushant has stopped doing mindless masala entertainers and gets a role where he can actually sink his teeth into. Considering his other films and performances, Chi La Sow is by far his best performance. He shows maturity in the role but it's nothing mind blowing.
Ruhani Sharma on the other hand makes a scintillating debut. She has a beautiful smile and delivers a very good performance. She is expressive and her eyes only add to her performance. Chinmayi's dubbing is also as good as ever for her character.
It's Vennela Kishore that steals the show once again. Chi La Sow is a romantic comedy and Kishore brings the house down with two crucial comedy sequences. The staircase scene is one of the funniest scenes in 2018 and probably the best scene in the movie. The orange juice thread in the 2nd half is equally hilarious. If not for Vennela Kishire, the film would not have been as entertaining as it is.
Rohini is outstanding in the role of a mother with bipolar disorder.
Sanjay Swaroop and Anu Hasan as Arjun's parents are natural and adequate.
Direction: Rahul Ravindran has always been a talented person. Despite his voice being identical to Siddarth, the actor has always made an impression in the roles he's been given whether it was the obsessive boyfriend who yearns for Muthina's love in Andala Rakshasi, a charming lead in Ala Ela, and a relative with other intentions in Srimanthudu. In his directorial debut, he passes with flying colors. Chi La Sow doesn't succeed because it has a good story. In fact, it has a story that unfolds in 24 hours. A film like this needs an arresting or fabulous screenplay. And for the most part, Rahul Ravindran does a great job. The crucial thread about Anjali and her family is one of the most well written and realistic subplots in recent times and is really the core point of the story. Sushant's reaction after hearing the story is just hilarious. The dialogues and situations are also well thought out and make up for what is one of the most realistic films in a long time. Despite the slow pace of the first half, the film really picks up in the 2nd half and comes to a nice conclusion. Overall, Rahul Ravindran does a very good job in his debut and it will be exciting to see what his next project as a director will be because he has a very good grip on emotions, a smart knack for comedy, and understands human relations. With this film, I would put him in the list of Tollywood's best writers along with Koratala Siva, Adivi Sesh, Mohankrishna Indraganti, Srinivas Avasarala, and the late Jandhyala garu.
Technicalities:Music and BGM by Prashanth R Vihari is good. Mellaga Mellaga is the best song of the lot in my opinion. The song by the dhabas could have easily been avoided. Cinematography by M. Sukumar is adequate. The film is shot in limited locations so there's nothing spectacular with the visuals. Editing by Chota K Prasad is decent. Dialogues by Rahul Ravindran are excellent and contemporary with today's times. Art by Vinod Varma is good for the house sets. Given the tight budget, the production values are good. The film doesn't have the richest or grandest look but it's not TV serial bad quality either.
+ Vennela Kishore's comedy
- Pace in 1st half
Analysis and Final Take: When Rahul Ravindran turned director and announced Chi La Sow, it surprised many as to why a successful leading man and at times side role actor would want to take the plunge into the world of directing. It's safe to say he passes with flying colors and delivers a fairly entertaining and insightful film in the end.
Chi La Sow doesn't have much of a premise but it's the jokes and performances that keep you glued to your seat throughout. The film starts off quickly establishing the character of Arjun and Vennela Kishore's comedy keeps you entertained for the majority of the first half.
The only problem is that the 1st half does it sweet time to unfold with the subplot of Anjali's marriage issues. The 2nd half is probably better than the first half and proceeds at a quicker pace. However, even at 2hrs and 10 mins, the film does feel a bit long.
The dialogues and situations are what makes the difference in Chi La Sow and the concept of having a film happen the span of 24 hours is quite an innovative concept for the Telugu rom com genre.
Sushant finally has a film he can be proud of and hopefully it will give him a some nice recognition in the industry. And credit to Rahul Ravindran for solid writing and making a clean family entertainer that everyone can watch after a long gap.
Overall, Chi La Sow is an innovative rom com that is beautifully written and directed by Rahul Ravindran. Watch it for the good performances, dialogues, music, and Vennela Kishore's comedy.