Chithha Movie Review: Siddharth’s ‘Chithha’ delivers a powerful and profoundly disquieting narrative of abuse

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Chithha Movie Review

Chithha Movie Review: Synopsis: In a tranquil town grappling with a disturbing surge in cases of missing women and sexual abuse, “Chithha” unravels a complex tale of tragedy, devotion, and a relentless pursuit of justice. This poignant film introduces us to a young man who deeply cares for his niece, all while a chilling paedophile-murderer lurks in the shadows, leaving us pondering how it will all culminate.

Chithha Movie Review

Chithha Movie Review: “Chithha” emerges as a companion piece to last year’s outstanding “Gargi,” delving into the grim realm of sexual abuse. Both films carry a thriller’s tone but consciously refrain from sensationalism, offering a sensitive and empathetic exploration of the aftermath of abuse.

They shed light on the profound impact that allegations of sexual abuse can have on individuals and their families. With skillful storytelling and filmmaking, both films conclude with hopeful resolutions that, although well-intentioned, may feel somewhat unnecessary.

What sets “Chithha” apart, aside from its small-town setting, is its choice of protagonist. Unlike “Gargi,” which featured a female lead who pursued justice through legal means, “Chithha” introduces us to Easwaran (Siddharth), affectionately known as Eesu, a male lead whose response to the crisis is introspective and contemplative. This choice serves as a commentary on the often misguided male sense of righteousness in addressing crimes like abuse.

It also highlights the challenging predicament faced by women, who must confront both ruthless abusers and overzealous protectors, whose immediate reaction is revenge rather than reassurance. Eesu, burdened with the responsibility of caring for his family at a young age due to his elder brother’s sudden passing, now works in the sanitation department. He becomes the caretaker of his sister-in-law (Anjali Nair) and Settai, his eight-year-old niece, Sundari (Sahasra Sree).

Chithha Movie Story

As the story unfolds, we witness Eesu rekindling a romance with his childhood friend and co-worker Sakthi (Nimisha Sajayan). The film also portrays the familial bond he shares with his friend Vadivelu, a lower-level undercover cop, and his niece Ponni (S Abiya Tasneem). A sense of impending tragedy looms as the local police discuss the town’s increasing danger for women.

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Before tragedy strikes, director Arun Kumar beautifully portrays the affectionate relationship between Eesu and Settai. Their closeness and Eesu’s protective instincts are heartwarming. However, the film takes an unexpected turn when even the slightest doubt or seemingly harmless actions have devastating consequences.

As the narrative intensifies, the cinematography becomes more handheld, creating a palpable sense of unease and foreboding. The film’s writing and direction turn exceptionally potent, drawing the audience into distressing events that are challenging to watch yet impossible to turn away from.

The story evolves into a gripping race-against-time survival thriller, though some viewers may have preferred that the director refrained from depicting the abusive methods of the kidnapper. Given the inherently horrific nature of a little girl held captive by a serial rapist and murderer, some might argue that leaving certain details to the audience’s imagination would have been more effective.

Fortunately, the film swiftly transitions into one of the most tension-filled sequences of the year as events unfold at a police checkpoint. The ensuing payoff is immensely satisfying, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats.

However, the subsequent events struggle to maintain the same level of intensity. A revenge subplot concludes with a scene that feels tonally disjointed, as it veers towards pandering to the audience. Vishal Chandrashekar’s understated score, which previously contributed to the film’s ambiance, suddenly shifts into a celebratory mode.

Additionally, a revelation involving a major character lacks the element of surprise, but the character’s observations are sharp and commendably conclude with an assertion of victim empowerment.

The performances in “Chithha” are outstanding, with Siddharth delivering a remarkable portrayal filled with intensity and grit. Nimisha Sajayan makes a confident debut, while the child actresses, especially Sahasra Sree, shine in conveying the emotional turmoil of their characters.

Amidst the film’s somber tone, there are moments of tenderness that provide a respite from the darkness. A survivor’s heartfelt hug and a poignant scene between two friends who have shared a traumatic experience add depth to “Chithha,” elevating it into a vital cinematic experience for our times.

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