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Charles Enterprises review: Balu Varghese, Urvashi & Kalaiyarasan’s overlong drama keeps going round in circles

Debutant Subhash Lalitha Subrahmanian squanders the opportunity for a suspenseful and funny drama, by unfolding the events at an unengaging pace


Last Updated: 02.13 PM, May 17, 2023


Story: Youngster Ravi Kumarasamy suffers from a rare form of night blindness. His life keeps getting darker with him struggling to find a partner as well as hold on to his job. A window of opportunity opens when a woman approaches him with a deal; the catch is that he has to steal a Ganesha idol from his mother, who is a staunch devotee. What happens when Ravi finally decides to take the plunge?

Review: The first thing that you would notice in debutant Subhash Lalitha Subrahmanian’s Charles Enterprises is how the filmmaker, who has also scripted the movie, has presented its main characters. There’s an overload of information about the struggles and routines of its protagonists – all of which to a point is relevant. But herein also lies the biggest weakness of Charles Enterprises, the filmmaker focuses too much on the mundanity of the lives of these characters that you feel that the movie never really gets going.


In essence, the film is about a youngster named Ravi, who gets an opportunity to live a better life, if he sells a Ganesha idol that his mother treasures. It seems to be a simple task, but Ravi has to confront his guilt, find ways to ensure that his mother doesn’t know what he’s up to and then when he finally goes through with it, has to wait exceedingly long for the woman who had offered him the deal. The latter seems to be a convenient trope to play out Ravi’s troubles of keeping the idol hidden from his mother, in a place where both have access to.

While this aspect could have made for suspenseful and also funny moments, Subhash squanders this, by unfolding the events at a slow pace that rarely seem engaging. In fact, once you have figured out what Ravi has to do, then the wait is to see if he can go through with it. But this stretches and the payoff isn’t rewarding either. Having Kalaiyarasan’s character Charles in the fold in the second half, adds some life to the insipid storytelling but that hardly gets one invested in the story or Ravi’s plight.

Balu Varghese and Kalaiyarasan in a poster of the film
Balu Varghese and Kalaiyarasan in a poster of the film

Credit must go to the art department for creating a lively setting of the colony and Ravi’s house. The aesthetic visuals along with Subramian KV’s music aid the movie, which needed to be better paced. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, Charles Enterprises seemed at least 20 minutes long and the characters kept going round and round in circles, making it a dreary affair after the first hour.

Balu Varghese as Ravi performs well, keeping the softspoken and timid character consistent. Urvashi’s talent, however, isn’t quite explored in the movie, which relegates her as a supporting act. Guru Somasundaram too doesn’t have too much to play with in the film, which has talented actors such as Abhija Sivakala, Sujith Shankar and Kalaiyarasan in one-dimensional characters.

A poster of Charles Enterprises
A poster of Charles Enterprises

Verdict: The self-indulgent storytelling along with its duration make Charles Enterprises a tiring watch, especially after a decent first hour.


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