Chithrakuzhal tells the tale of Virundhan, a tribal boy who comes to the rescue of Charu, the Forest Officer's son, when the latter is kidnapped by poachers. Fleeing from Charu's captors, the boys move into the jungle where they meet their classmate Amina, who is also on the run.
Though essentially film for children at the peripheral level, it soon becomes obvious that Majeed Gulistan's film concerns itself with more serious issues as environmental conservation. The environment or the forest rather in this case is as much a central character in the film, as the three children who seeks its protection.
Virundhan we learn is in the lookout for a magical flower that would cure his ailing mother of her illness. The flowers have always been guarded by a goddess, he says. When asked why the goddess doesn't make an appearance any more, Virundhan says that men need to retain the goodness within themselves for the goddess to appear.
The kids fret about the heat that threatens to almost burn them down, and the tribal boy comments that the heat has been on the rise for several years now. A very obvious referral point to global warming, this scene serves as a reminder that the future looks quite scorching.
The film tells a simple story in a clear cut fashion. There are no frills in work here nor does it employ other gimmicks to keep the viewer engaged. The film has been beautifully shot and M J Radhakrishnan's camera traverses up and down the forest terrains with a remarkable ease.
The performances by all the three children - Amal Ashok, Sidharth and Meera - are engaging to the core. They bring life to the people that they get to play with a professional sparkle that is quite uncommon.
On the flipside, the script could have done a lot better with a bit more polish here and there. The scenes involving the tribal people for one, look out of place, especially with the way they are dressed up. Even Virundhan's mother who is almost on her death bed, is clad to perfection.
Also to an audience that has been fed on National Geographic programs, visually the film might have little new to offer. The real wildlife is seriously missing in Chithrakuzhal, and the reasons are very much understandable.
Gulistan's film offers a binocular view of the world that is being ruined by man beyond repair. All its deficits not withstanding, as a children's film that comes up with a very pertinent social message, Chithrakuzhal deserves a mention.
NOW PLAYING | MOVIE REVIEWS