A film that's insufferable in the main, that's what Robin Thirumala's debut directorial venture Chembada is. Robin, who had scripted some not-so-mentionable films, has sought to make it out to be a thriller, but the pity of it is that the film has neither thrills nor anything else worth a watch.
Chembada (meaning 'Red Army'), tells the story of a group of youths, who run a music troupe named 'Red Army'. Though they dance and sing and perform on stage, their real operations happen to be something else. They follow the instructions of one Captain Mukundan Menon and rob money and valuables from people who have amassed it through wrong means.
In the meantime a young man named Manu (Bala), who is left wounded and in a really bad condition at a desolate place, comes into contact with the troupe. He was in fact the son of a driver who worked for a rich planter and had a lover in Meenakshi (Sreedevika), an innocent girl. But soon Meenakshi is raped by the planter R.K. Nair and his accomplices and Manu's father, who had always been loyal to his master, takes the blame upon him and gets arrested. But things then take a different turn.
Manu's father commits suicide in jail; Meenakshi and her father go missing and when Manu goes to question R.K. Nair and his men, he is beaten up and left at a desolate place, from where he is picked up by a woman and taken to the hospital. And it is later that he comes in contact with 'Red Army'. Manu, who has also been groomed in music, is later inducted into the troupe and the very first day he performs on stage, he comes face to face with Bhadra, who is none other than Meenakshi and who is already a member of the troupe. And then Manu, who gets a new name, Harikrishnan, gets initiated into the ways of the troupe. What happens from then forms the rest of the plot.
The storyline that Robin Thirumala, who has also written the script, has chosen for his debut directorial venture could have made for a pacy thriller. But the slackness in treatment and totally insufferable performance by the actors has resulted in the film turning out to be an utter bore. There's nothing much to mention about the technical aspects, which happen to be below average. The film, which has been touted as a musical thriller, is poor on the music side too. Of the songs, only one, namely "Ente pranayathin Taj Mahal…" is worth mentioning.
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