A compelling narrative, despite some uneven moments, offering a poignant exploration of abuse and redemption.
Siddharth’s Chithha unfolds in a small town grappling with rising cases of missing women and sexual abuse. Easwaran (Siddharth), the protagonist, shoulders the responsibility of caring for his family. The narrative takes an unexpected turn when tragedy strikes, revealing the devastating impact of doubt and trauma. As the film delves into a race-against-time survival thriller, it explores the dark underbelly of abuse and the challenges faced by those seeking justice.
Chithha masterfully navigates the delicate subject of sexual abuse, following in the footsteps of last year’s impactful *Gargi*. Both films maintain a thriller tone without succumbing to sensationalism, presenting the aftermath of abuse with sensitivity and empathy. The story revolves around Easwaran, a male protagonist dealing with the repercussions of abuse in a small town. The film skillfully depicts the misplaced sense of righteousness men often exhibit in such situations, juxtaposed with the Catch-22 women endure — confronting both abusers and overzealous protectors.
Director Arun Kumar establishes a heartwarming connection between Easwaran and his niece Settai before tragedy disrupts the idyllic setting. The cinematography, initially warm, transforms into a handheld, tense portrayal, intensifying the film’s emotional impact. The narrative escalates into a survival thriller, punctuated by a gripping sequence at a police checkpoint, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats.
The film, however, falters in the later stages. A revenge angle feels tonally off, accompanied by a gratuitous scene that deviates from the film’s established mood. Despite a revelation involving a major character, the surprise element falls short. Nevertheless, the character’s observations and a powerful moment of victim empowerment contribute to the film’s thematic depth.
Performances are a highlight, with Siddharth delivering an intense and gritty portrayal, supported by Nimisha Sajayan’s confident debut. Child actresses, particularly Sahasra Sree, shine in conveying the profound impact of victimization. Amidst the grimness, the film offers tender moments, emphasizing survival, friendship, and resilience.
Chithha is a compelling exploration of abuse and its aftermath, skillfully avoiding sensationalism. While the film’s later segments lose some of the initial impact, it remains a vital narrative in contemporary times. Siddharth’s powerful performance, coupled with poignant moments, elevates Chithha to a commendable cinematic endeavor, urging viewers to confront the harsh realities while celebrating moments of resilience.