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Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (transl. The crimson red sky) is a 2018 Indian Tamil-language gangster action thriller film directed by Mani Ratnam, co-written with Siva Ananth. Produced by Mani Ratnam under the banner Madras Talkies, alongside with Lyca Productions, the film features an ensemble cast of actors Vijay Sethupathi, Silambarasan, Aravind Swami, Arun Vijay, Jyothika, Aditi Rao Hydari, Aishwarya Rajesh and Dayana Erappa, play lead roles while Prakash Raj, Jayasudha, Thiagarajan and Mansoor Ali Khan play supporting roles.

Chekka Chivantha Vaanam
Chekka Chivantha Vaanam.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMani Ratnam
Produced byMani Ratnam
A. Subaskaran
Written byMani Ratnam
Siva Ananth
StarringVijay Sethupathi
Aravind Swamy
Arun Vijay
Silambarasan
Jyothika
Aditi Rao Hydari
Aishwarya Rajesh
Dayana Erappa
Prakash Raj
Narrated byVijay Sethupathi
Music bySongs:
A. R. Rahman
Score:
A. R. Rahman
Qutub-E-Kripa
CinematographySantosh Sivan
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Production
company
Distributed byLyca Productions
Wellborn International ( Kerala )
Release date
  • 27 September 2018 (2018-09-27)
Running time
143 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil
Box officeest.90 crore (US$13 million)[1][2]

Chekka Chivantha Vaanam tells the story of three brothers who engage in a power struggle for control over their deceased father's criminal empire. The project was kick-started with A. R. Rahman and Santhosh Sivan as the music composer and the cinematographer respectively. The team spent nearly six months for choosing the cast and crew respectively, with subsequent changes. Principal photography of the film was commenced on February 2018 and filming continuously took place on Chennai, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Serbia. The title was announced on 9 February 2018, alongside with a poster release.

The soundtrack and background score was composed by A. R. Rahman, while Santosh Sivan handled the cinematography and Sreekar Prasad edited the film. The film was released on 27 September 2018 to positive reception from critics and audiences, praising the direction and performances of the cast, but criticising for lacking strong women characters.[3] It was dubbed in Telugu as Nawab, and was released on the same day. The film was declared as a blockbuster, grossing more than ₹90 crore worldwide. Chekka Chivantha Vaanam won two awards at the Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards, and one award each at the Behindwoods Gold Medal Film Festival, and Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards, while it was nominated for the 8th South Indian International Movie Awards.

PlotEdit

Senapathi (Prakash Raj), a God-fearing boss of a crime family, is on a tour to a temple with his wife Lakshmi (Jayasudha). Despite being escorted by heavily armed men, assassins disguised as cops attempt to take down Sena and Lakshmi, but they evade the assault. Sena's children are notified of this. Sena has a daughter (RJ Sindhu) and three sons. The eldest of the sons is Varadharajan (Arvind Swami), who runs a part of his empire in Chennai. The second, Thyagarajan (Arun Vijay), operates his business in Dubai with Arabs. The third, Ethirajan (Silambarasan), runs the Serbian section of Sena's empire.

Meanwhile, Varadan tries phoning his friend Rasool Ibrahim (Vijay Sethupathi), a police inspector, for information as to who the person behind the ambush on his father was. Rasool, who is in midst of an interrogation, fails to answer his call and gets suspended for violating rules after beating a young boy during an investigation case. Soon after his arrival and meeting up with Varadan, they discuss of the attack and about the potential mastermind behind it with Chinnappadasan (Thiagarajan) being the most probable. Chinnappa has been a long rival of Sena's ever since both dons have ruled Chennai. Varadan kills Chinnappa's son-in-law (Appani Sarath), creating a gang war. At the same time, Sena regains health. During their meetup with Chinnappa, Sena tells him that he is aware of who the culprit is, and later lets Lakshmi know that one of their sons is behind this.

Soon after, Sena passes away, and the brothers start a fight over who will be the next king to his throne. The brothers doubt each other, and a feud begins between them after Varadan takes control of his father's empire. Further, he conspires against his brothers by harming their wives and hiring men to kill them. Ethi and Thyagu join hands to revenge against Varadan, on the condition that Thyagu will be the sole king. They try to get back to India via Nepal but are captured by Varadan's men at the airport. Ethi and Thyagu manage to escape from there and reach Chennai. They overpower Varadan by manipulating his henchman and roping Rasool to their side. They kill their uncle Chezhiyan (Siva Ananth), who is Varadan's father-in-law, and capture Varadan's girlfriend Parvathi (Aditi Rao Hydari), a TV reporter.

Fearing that his brothers may harm his family, Varadan flees from Chennai. During a shootout, Varadan's wife Chitra (Jyothika) gets killed. It is transpired that Varadan hired the assassins to kill Sena so that he could succeed in getting his father's place. Ethi and Thyagu catch Varadan with Rasool's help. In the midst of the confrontation, Thyagu shoots Varadan for framing and incarcerating his wife Renuka (Aishwarya Rajesh). Subsequently, Ethi kills Thyagu for setting up a hitman to kill his wife Chaaya (Dayana Erappa).

In the end, Ethi tries to lure Rasool at gunpoint by offering to either bite the dust or join him. Rasool tells Ethi that his father Ibrahim was a small gangster and was killed before his eyes in a police encounter. His mother sent him away to his uncle's house so that he would not be like his father. Since then, he hated gangsters. Rasool reveals that he is still working undercover to eliminate Sena's empire and that the rift between the brothers has created a chance for him to bring their empire of crime down. Rasool then kills Ethi and reports to his authorities that Operation Red Sky has been accomplished.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Following a brief break after the release of Kaatru Veliyidai (2017), Mani Ratnam chose to begin pre-production on his next film by June 2017 and brought in composer A. R. Rahman and cinematographer Santosh Sivan for the project.[4]

Cast and crewEdit

In July 2017, reports in the media suggested that Mani Ratnam's next film would feature four male characters, and actors Vijay Sethupathi, Arvind Swami, Fahadh Faasil and Dulquer Salmaan were in negotiations to play various roles. While the first three actors eventually accepted to work on the film, discussions with Dulquer fell through.[5][6][7] Silambarasan later signed the film in early September 2017, and an official announcement from the production studio confirmed the four lead actors were attached to the project.[8][9] Telugu actor Nani had also held discussions with Mani Ratnam for a role in the film, but was later not included in the final cast.[10] Prior to the beginning of the shoot, Silambarasan undertook a rigorous weight loss regime to get into shape for his character.[11] In the months leading up to the start of the shoot, there was speculation in the media that Silambarasan would be banned from the project after allegations were made by producer Michael Rayappan about the actor's deliberate lack of co-operation during the making of Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan (2017). Despite protests from other film producers, Mani Ratnam chose to retain Silambarasan in the film.[12] In a media interaction during January 2018, Vijay Sethupathi confirmed that he would portray a full length role, denying reports which suggested that he had an extended cameo appearance.[13] Fahadh later opted out due to scheduling conflicts with other projects, and was later replaced by Arun Vijay.[14][15]

Jyothika agreed to portray a leading female role in early September 2017, and confirmed her participation to the media while promoting Magalir Mattum (2017). She had earlier appeared in Mani Ratnam's production venture Dumm Dumm Dumm (2001), but stated her excitement at being selected in a film to be directed by him.[16][17] Likewise, Aishwarya Rajesh also revealed her presence in the project during early September 2017, and expressed her delight working with Mani Ratnam.[18][19] In late January 2018, Aditi Rao Hydari, who had appeared as the lead actress of Mani Ratnam's previous project Kaatru Veliyidai (2017), was also confirmed to be a part of the cast.[20][21] Model Dayana Erappa also later joined the cast to play the fourth leading actress, marking her first acting assignment. She was cast after two rounds of auditions and then prepared for her role by attending workshops led by theater actors in Mumbai.[22][23]

For a supporting role, actress Jayasudha agreed to work on the film in November 2017, while Prakash Raj joined the cast during the following month to portray her husband.[24][25][26] The production house revealed that actors Thiagarajan and Mansoor Ali Khan were also added to the cast before filming started. Furthermore, other supporting actors including Cheenu Mohan and Malayalam actor Antony Varghese were reported to have signed to play characters in the film, though Varghese was later replaced by Appani Sarath.[27][28][29][30] Chennai-based radio jockey Sindhu also debuted as an actress, during the first schedule.[31] Siva Ananth was credited as the co-writer, while Bejoy Nambiar worked as one of the creative producers. Dhilip Subbarayan was signed to choreograph the stunt sequences, while Sharmishta Roy and Eka Lakhani were signed as the production designer and costume designer, respectively.[32]

FilmingEdit

In late January 2018, prior to the start of the shoot, Lyca Productions agreed to purchase the rights of the film on a "first copy" basis and release it worldwide.[33] Three days prior to the start of shoot in February 2018, the film's title was announced as Chekka Chivantha Vaanam in Tamil, and as Nawab for the dubbed Telugu version.[34] Principal photography began on 12 February 2018 on the outskirts of Chennai, with scenes shot on the East Coast Road and at the Apollo Hospital in Vanagaram during the first schedule.[35][36] A second schedule began on 26 February 2018, with all members of the cast intermittently featuring in the shoot. As the second schedule progressed, cinematographer Santosh Sivan released images of the various actors on the sets of the film.[37] The shoot continued in Chennai until mid-March, with a wedding scene also shot, before being halted as a result of a film industry-wide production strike announced by the Tamil Film Producers Council, who were campaigning against extortionate rates employed by digital service providers.[38]

Following the strike, production resumed in Chennai on 25 April 2018, with scenes involving Vijay Sethupathi being shot near Kovalam Beach in Chennai.[39] Media reports emerged suggesting that the production team had carelessly littered areas of the beach during the making of the film, making it dangerous for public use, but Executive Producer Siva Ananth refuted the allegations.[40][41] In May 2018, the team travelled to Abu Dhabi and Dubai to shoot scenes involving Arun Vijay and Aishwarya Rajesh, as a part of three week schedule.[42][43][44][45] The final schedule featuring Silambarasan and Dayana Erappa was completed over a week in Serbia and principal photography was subsequently wrapped up on 2 June 2018.[46][47]

MusicEdit

A. R. Rahman began composing on the film on a Recce to Goa on early February 2018, with Mani Ratnam and lyricist Vairamuthu.[48] The album was released on 5 September 2018 by Sony Music, and Rahman gave a live performance of the songs.[49]

Marketing and releaseEdit

The official first look poster of the film was released on 9 February 2018, revealing the title and main cast of this project. Mani Ratnam launched the first look in Tamil and Telugu, on his official Twitter handle. On 3 August 2018, a poster was released on the Twitter handle of Lyca Productions, revealing that the film will release on 28 September 2018. On 12-15 August 2018, The team launched a set of 4 posters, revealing the four main characters of the film, before another poster which released on 17 August 2018.[50] The team released another set of 4 posters, featuring the women characters on 20-23 August 2018.

The official theatrical trailer of the movie was released on 25 August 2018, on the YouTube channel of Lyca Productions, receiving rave reviews upon release.[51] On 12 September 2018, the makers announced that the film alongside with its dubbed Telugu version Nawab, will release on 27 September 2018,[52] as the release date was advanced by one day. Following this, the second trailer of the movie was released on 21 September 2018, which also received positive reviews.

The film has given a U/A certificate without any cuts, by the Central Board of Film Certification, with a runtime of 138 minutes. The satellite rights of the movie were acquired by STAR Vijay, and its television premiere took place on 13 January 2019.[53]

Critical ReceptionEdit

The film received positive reviews from critics praising the performances of the cast, direction and screenplay, but criticising for lacking strong women characters. The actors' performances in the film were widely praised, especially of Silambarasan, with some calling the film his "comeback" after a sabbatical of five years and two flops.

Critical responseEdit

Behindwoods gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 stars saying that, "CCV is a worthy family gangster drama in true Mani Ratnam style with massy fan moments."[54] Indiaglitz referred the movie as a mesmerising gangster saga, and rated the film 3.5 out of 5.[55] Times of India gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and summarized that, "The single-mindedness of the script, which doesn't stray away from its two major concerns is actually the film’s strength."[56] S. Shiva Kumar of The Hindu noted this film's similarities to the South Korean film New World. According to Kumar, "Chekka Chivandha Vanam is the closest Mani Ratnam has come to plagiarism."[57] while Scroll.in called it a subtle yet clever tribute to Akira Kurosawa's Ran .[58] A critic from India Today rated 4 out of 5 stars, summarising that "Throughout, the film pretends to be a hunt for that one bad guy among the heroes. But in the end, you realise how wrong you were."[59] Deccan Chronicle, rated the film 3 out of 5 stars and noted, "CCV is a revenge drama that would leave you captivated and spellbound."[60] The Indian Express, rated 3 out of 5 stars for the film and summarised that "Chekka Chivantha Vaanam feels like the work of a fresh director with an impressive understanding about the craft of filmmaking. It could be because auteur Mani Ratnam has made a violent film after a very long time. It could also be because it is a straightforward movie, in which he has highly favored words to images."[61] Sreedhar Pillai from Firstpost rated 3.5 out of 5, and commented that "Mani Ratnam's direction triumphs in a story-driven crime thriller".[62] News18 rated the film with 4 out 5 stars, and summarised that "Ratnam's Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, which is undeniably his best work of this decade, is a slow-burning, highly rewarding story of a crime-ridden family that gets torn apart by power, greed and deceit."[63]

Box officeEdit

During the first four days of the film's release, it grossed ₹300 million (US$4 million) gross in Tamil Nadu alone, taking one of the largest openings recorded in the region.[64][2] The film did well in international markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and the New Zealand. Within two days of release, the film had made A$170,682 (US$121,512) in Australia, £63,895 (US$82,690) in the UK, NZ$54,411 (US$35.530) in New Zealand and $592,319 in the US.[65]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Date of Ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
16 December 2018 Behindwoods Gold Medal Best Actor in a Negative role Arvind Swamy Won [66]
5 January 2019 Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards Best Stunt Choreographer Dhilip Subbarayan Won [67]
Best Costume Designer Eka Lakhani Won
5 January 2019 Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards Best Stunt Choreographer Dhilip Subbarayan Won
16 August 2019 8th South Indian International Movie Awards Best Female Playback Singer Shakthisree Gopalan Nominated
Best Male Playback Singer A.R. Rahman Nominated
Best Music Director- Tamil A.R. Rahman Nominated
Best Actor in Supporting Role Silambarasan Nominated

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit