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Movie Review: "Charulatha"; Director: Pon Kumaran; Star Cast: Priya Mani, Skanda, Saranya Ponvannan, Seetha, Sai Sasi and Aarthi; Verdict: Neither scares nor entertains.

[starreview tpl=16]

Based on Thai horror flick "Alone", Pon Kumaran's "Charulatha" is a poorly executed film with no thrills. The film treads a cliched path with disappointing CGI, loud and jarring background score and uninspiring acting. Priyamani's final act is the only saving grace in the entire film.

Charu and Latha, two identical conjoined twins by birth are separated by a medical surgery. In the process, Latha doesn't make it out alive. The shock of her sister's demise leaves Charu to live life with a feeling of guilt deep inside.

Two years later, Charu is summoned to her native place, to her house where she grew up with her sister, to attend to her ailing mother. Charu feels the presence of an unknown force in the house always watching her. It doesn't take her much time to realise it's her dead sister Latha, on a mission to avenge her death.

Original story by Banjong Pisanthanakun had the ability to engage and captivate the viewer, but it's not the same in the case of 'Charulatha'. Pon Kumaran gives the story much needed masala touch to suit the Indian audience, however, fails to neither scare nor entertain viewers.

The film was inundated with too many sub-plots, which in the entire running time never seem to have synced with the actual story of the movie. As the story switched back and forth between past and present, it was left to the audience to connect the dots in order to understand the film. To add to the woes, the love track between Priya and Skanda appeared contrived.

Barring the last few minutes, Priya Mani, a National award winner falls way below expectations and leaves everyone in utter disappointment. She can't be blamed entirely, because it's the director who is to be blamed for etching such a weak character.

Skanda barely has any part to play besides comforting his lady love from frequent visits from her dead sister.

The unpredictable twist was commendable, but it wasn't handled well. Direction by Pon Kumaran is best when spoken the least. In an attempt to make the film appear scary, he struggles to make the audience connect with the film.

Music by Sundar C. Babu is not something you look forward to in the film. His attempt to scare everyone with the background score only turns irksome.

"Charulatha" is proof to how a pathetic film can sabotage the ability of a talented actress.

IANS

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