When the state film awards declared Prakkat, Dulquer and Parvathy as the main winners, I was taken aback. I thought to myself, Charlie looks like an ordinary entertainer, why award it?
I was wrong.
Movies like this are very much needed in this country where we drool over page 3 and headlines. Charlie is a tale about hope, love, and independence which makes you feel good with its pleasant resolution.
Tessa (Parvathy) escapes from her house to avoid a forced marriage and comes to Fort Kochi. She lives in the rented space and comes across a story made by Charlie (Dulquer Salman). She becomes fascinated and sets out to find him and the rest of the tale. More she discovers, the deeper she falls for him.
Kudos to Martin Prakkat for turning a simple story into an effective tale. You won’t feel the time passage as the movie goes on. Unlike the stereotypical depiction of women, Tessa is strong, independent, and a prompt decision maker. She is someone who is not afraid of getting out of her comfort zone and discover more in life. Through her, we get to know that men are generally nice and friendly when they see a lone woman. Although she comes across a lascivious man at one instance, in a way, her boldness and determination played the role of knight in armour and the man simply stepped aside. Tessa represents those women who dream and chase it and yes, she is eccentric in that sense. Parvathy delivered an effective performance and we will love her liveness and considerate nature. The movie belongs to her and Dulquer Salman. Dulquer is the most versatile actor from the new generation stars. He always has this smile on his face that makes you happy and creeps you out, notably in the introduction scene where he scares a thief with his magic tricks. Charlie has the unique gift to turn anyone’s life around. He influenced a thief, a suicidally depressed woman, a woman affected by AIDs and a father with sick children. He is able to bring happiness in all of their lives and his own mental pleasantness plays the key role there. The story about Mariya (Kalpana) moves you as much as you identify with Charlie’s decision to save her 12-year-old daughter from husband, who pimps her out for money. Mariya herself is a victim of prostitution and physical abuse by her husband and the scene where he celebrates her birthday makes a great difference and he even mourns for her. It was nice to see Chemban Vinod in a different role apart from his bully/rapist roles. He was controlled and deserves all the accolades he received. Nedumudi Venu is lively like always as someone waiting for his long lost love. Aparna Gopinath plays a doctor who finds redemption. She is someone who’s been in a sexual relation, a surgery that went wrong and public scrutiny. General Indian mindset will already declare her as a “damaged”. Charlie saves her from that agony and she finds a reason to smile and be cheerful. She lives a life without having a reason to marry and settle down. Aparna’s performance was not as effective as Dulquer’s or Parvathy but she caught up. She inspires Charlie to go after his dreams as opposed to simply runnign away from it. Thank god, Charlie is not just another Aman Mathur or Anand, in simple words, a dying man enjoying his life. He is just a normad trying to make things right and he finds his better half in Tessa who herself has a similar thought process.
The cinematography is spectacular and Jomon T John’s vision always brings you in the experience. The magic tricks performed by Charlie is effective in that sense. The music and the songs were apt. The only fault I find is that Charlie’s background is not exactly and it would have been better to see more of that instead throwing it all Tessa and Charlie’s relation.
Charlie is a must watch film for creative people and for those who identify with the new generation. The new generation is not exactly lost because they do not fall under Indian traditions and they could make a lot of difference with kindness and compassion.