Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (CCV) might look like a Godfather rip off on the surface. At least, the first teaser gave us many hints that the Godfather influence is very strong. But, that is just the surface. We feel, as do quite a few people on social media, that there could be a deeper connection to one of Tamil literature’s most loved epics – Ponniyin Selvan. Let’s look at how this connection makes sense.
- Ponniyin Selvan had an ageing king (Sundara Chozhan) who had three children. Here, an ageing don (Senapathi played by Prakash Raj) has three children.
- Ponniyin Selvan begins with conspirators trying to dethrone the already ailing king, with the obvious successor being seen as his eldest son Adithya Karikaalan. The CCV teaser shows Senapathi having just endured an attack and there being confusions about the successor, with the eldest son, Varathan, seeming to be obvious one.
- In Ponniyin Selvan, of the king’s three children, only the eldest is with him, overseeing the empire. The other two children are far away, with the youngest Arulmozhi Varman being in Sri Lanka. In CCV too, it is the eldest son who is seen with Senapathi at first. The other two are shown to be at different places, with the youngest (Ethiraj played by Silambarasan) definitely outside India, probably Serbia.
- Ponniyin Selvan’s key character Vandhiyathevan is the first one who brings the news of the conspiracy. He is then sent to give the news to Arulmozhivarman and bring him back. We believe that Vijay Sethupathi’s Rasool is Vandhiyathevan. He is a cop and is likely to know any plans that the police hatch to break Senapathi’s empire. It is Rasool’s voice that starts the CCV narrative in the first teaser. Likewise, in Ponniyin Selvan, the story is told from the view of Vandhiyathevan. In CCV, we can see that Rasool has a close bond with Ethiraj.
- Nandhini, the former lover of Aditya Karikalan is a key character in Ponniyin Selvan, and someone who holds a grouse against the Chozha empire. In CCV, there is a character played by Aditi Rao Hydari who seems to be having an affair with Senapathi’s eldest son,and is also seen to be very curious about who will be the successor. She might have a thing or two to do with the conspiracy.
- CCV, like Ponniyin Selvan, will be a tale of who takes over the throne and how. Of course, we do not know what tweaks Mani Rathnam has added to the story or how he has mixed and matched character traits to bring out something unpredictable, and what significance he has given to the female leads played by Jyothika and Aishwarya Rajesh. Going by the teaser, they too have important parts to play – hopefully you have noticed Aishwarya Rajesh getting mug shots taken in a Dubai jail, which means she has a past or does something drastic in the story.
All said and done, this is the Mani Ratnam film that has generated the highest amount of pre-release excitement post Raavanan. A big box office success has been eluding the master craftsman for a while now. Maybe, this is the film that will the set the box office ringing for Mani Rathnam once again and restore his position as a money spinner for Kollywod. Let the theaters be painted red!