What I love about ‘Charlie’

Why the name Charlie? On the way back from watching the movie, I kept wondering. ‘Why was this eccentric character given this name, and then name the movie after him? The name must have some significance’. One quick search on the web tells me the name is synonymous to ‘free man’. No wonder!

Charlie is free-spirited, in every sense of the term. Anyone who encounters him is enamored by his love. Tessa is no exception, although she meets him initially through his belongings in the apartment, earlier inhabited by Charlie. At first she is distraught by all the clutter. But as she gets past the mess of the room, she finds the soul of Charlie.

Movie moves through caricatures of a particular night drawn by Charlie. Tessa sifts through the sketches, which ends abruptly, and she is intrigued. She goes in search for the rest of the story and more of Charlie. Each character she meets adds to the image of charlie and little by little, we are introduced to the “crazy man”. Here crazy as in non- conforming and different.

Traveller, explorer, magician, savior; each frame of him is of much exuberance. He seems to love almost everyone and know almost everything! For instance, he befriends the thief who tries to rob him, rescues suicidal Kani “at the right time’, even finds Kunjappan chettan’s Thresya from nowhere! A man as free as the wind and spontaneous like fire, encompassing all thats beautiful- love, joy,fun, freedom, energy and leaving a bit of that in every soul he meets.  Having no entanglement with anyone, and freeing himself from the possessiveness in relationships. He could even be criticized for being perfect, almost superhuman- like. But he is every man, the purest of emotions most often subdued by the rest. And the quintessential humanity in him comes to light as he vents out at the death of Mary and subdued by anger, fights to rescue Mary’s daughter.

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The crux of the story is the frantic search for Charlie by Tessa and we join her in her quest. But is Tessa simply on a wild goose chase? Maybe its not just yearning for Charlie, but more of the freedom he possess. Afterall she herself flees from home and lives all by herself. As Tessa follows charlie, movie moves along with her. Finally, amidst the mirth and revelry of Thrissur pooram, they meet. Charlie clicks a photo with her and then, only then we realize with Tessa that he knew her even before she knew him! As the movie wraps up, we see their elation slowly blending with the exhilaration of the crowd, and the two commence their journey together.

Propelled by Martin Prakkat’s direction, this story by Unni R is made picturesque by cinematographer Jomon T John and refreshed with the tunes of Gopi Sunder. Characters elegantly dressed up by Sameera, in tune with the bohemian feel of the film. Dulqer, Parvathy, Anupama, Nedumudi Venu gave due justice to their roles. And of course special mention for the late actress Kalpana, whose sorrowful rendering of the AIDS patient, stays with us long after the movie is done.

Some stories leave us feeling like the characters are alive. Be it a book or a film, it will stay. This movie too will live on, for all the good vibes it spreads.

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