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Chintamani Kola Case: Worth a watch

By Paresh C Palicha
Last updated on: April 03, 2006 16:27 IST
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Suresh Gopi in Chintamani Kola CaseShaji Kailas is a stylish Malayalam director known to give superstars image-defining roles. And the actor who has benefited the most from that is Suresh Gopi.

Kailas gave Gopi the rough and tough cop image. And in a bid to reinvent himself, Gopi has again teamed up with his favourite director.

In the last couple of months we have seen two films from this team, the first being Tiger, an investigative police story that left us unsatisfied, and now Chintamani Kola Case, which is being touted as a legal thriller.

You can debate whether Chintamani Kola Case can be called a legal thriller. Apart from Gopi playing an advocate, there is nothing legal about it.

But that would be arguing just for the sake argument. Chintamani Kola Case cannot be compared to the old stuff from the famed team, but it is surely worth one watch.

The first 15 minutes of the film are devoted to establishing that Lal Krishna Viradiyar (Gopi) is a hotshot criminal lawyer. Only after that do the credits start rolling.

The story is about the murder of a medical student in a ragging incident in a private medical college. The accused are a group of nine girls from affluent non-resident families.

That this is an open and shut case is hammered into the audience throughout the first half.

The narrative moves back and forth in time, showing us the events leading to the murder -- as per the police chargesheet.

There are some jarring moments here that are very hard to digest. The ragging scenes might make you feel nauseas or tickle your funny bone – depending on your mental make-up. The diatribe against the commercialisation of professional education also goes overboard.

Chintamani (Bhavana), a girl from a poor family, had secured a merit seat in the college, a seat that would have been auctioned for Rs 50,00,000 if she had not appeared on the scene. This is the motive for the murder, as the team leader's father had booked the seat for her sibling.

The pace picks up in the second half when Varadiyar fights the case for the accused girls and rescues them from the gallows.

How he gets justice for Chintamani thereafter forms the crux of the story.

Writer A K Sajan's narrative has some gaping holes, which if discussed here may give away the ending. It would be sufficient to say that some seemingly important characters are left in the lurch without any valid explanation.

One also fails to understand the necessity to use the background score of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas in some portions of the film.

Otherwise, Chintamani... scores high on slickness.

Gopi's performance is inconsistent. In the beginning you may feel that he has lost it, but he gathers himself to gain top form by the end. The psychopathic glint in his eyes is worth noting.

No other actor has sufficient screen time to match up to Gopi, except veteran Thilakan, who plays Chintamani's father. Vani Vishwanath and Kalabhavan Mani are wasted in bit roles.

All in all: Not a bad experience, as long as you don't nurse very high expectations from Chintamani Kola Case.

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Paresh C Palicha