I am often accused of taking movies too seriously. “But why did s/he do that?” Apparently, the disclaimer that it is a work of fiction has no bearing on me. I continue to analyze characters as though they are friends I am not in touch with anymore. More recently, watching the Malayalam movie Charlie got me started on one of these tangents.

Tessa (Parvathy) is a twenty-something woman (girl?) who feels restricted by a life the rest of us call “normal”. She quits her job in Bangalore* (because she feels bored), leaves her house (because her mother disapproves of her behaviour in a general sense, and also wants her to marry someone she has no interest in), and moves into a room in a dilapidated heritage building somewhere in Kochi. In the room, she finds a few hundred quirky things belonging to the person (male) who lived there before her. But Tessa clearly has too much time, because instead of clearing out these things after expressing some preliminary interest, she starts following the clues. She unearths story after story about this man, Charlie, who seemingly lives like a vagabond. Everyone she meets has the most unique anecdotes to share about him, such as the time he accompanied a burglar, or how he helped a prostitute celebrate her birthday at sea. Tessa will not stop until she meets him. She travels across Kerala hoping to run into him (even hitching a ride with a truck), but is disappointed at every pit stop. She finally does meet him (of course). He is just the right age, probably the right religion too, and looks like Dulquer Salmaan (who I confess doesn’t do anything for me, but one must take into account that he is a heart-throb currently).

Charlie, the movie, tells us that it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to obsessively look for a man she knows nothing about, while simultaneously developing vague notions of love(?) towards him (based on a photograph and the amusing reminiscences of other people). Tessa plans to join a music class, but the movie forgets all about that once she is confronted by the Mystery of the Vanishing Man, Charlie. What the movie doesn’t tell us is how Tessa pays for her living and travel expenses (she isn’t in any particular hurry to find a job) – does her family support her, does she have money saved up? At least with Charlie, we are told in passing that he sketches for a living (since he is practically homeless and doesn’t seem to need much else in the way of toiletries or clothes, this shouldn’t pose a problem).

And now is probably a good time for you to be thinking, “Oh relax, it’s just a movie.”

*Don’t young Malayalis go anywhere else these days?


6 thoughts on “Charlie

    1. Ah Mal, I think that all the time. For every love @ 1st sight senario, I think “ah, it is about the looks” and anytime a hero bends over backward to please the heroine I think the same thing.

      That is probably why most love stories do not work for me al all. Especially if the leads look too pretty/handsome.

      Anu, As for the basic scenario of being obsessed with a enigmatic someone. I have seen/read this story before.

      1) Durjoy Dutta’s “If it’s not forever…”. He finds a diary in a bomb blast area and wants to find the owner’s family and inform that the owner is probably dead in the blast. The one line story sounds alright, but Dutta is a terrible story teller.

      2) Solla Thudikuthu Manasu: Famous for the son “Poove Sempoovea”. This movie has Karthik finding the tracks of a certain “Thenmozhi”. He gets obsessed. Everybody says she is awesome and touched their life. Nobody has her photo. Turns out his gf (named Jayakodi) is a look-alike. Confusion ensues. Silly movie. Love that song though.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love to pick apart movie characters too, but usually nobody cares enough to pick them apart with me. haha. I did not watch that movie, but if I had to wager a guess, I would say that she is not in love with Charlie but with what he represents – freedom. Maybe she wants him to teach her how to live or something.


    1. That is a better explanation definitely, but I don’t get that feeling watching the movie. She lives a kind of Bohemian lifestyle too, going anywhere at will and doing what she pleases. It seems like she is obsessed with finding him specifically, not the elusive quality he represents. Like somebody else mentioned here, I wonder if she would have gone behind him had he been much younger or older or not conventionally good looking and so on. The characters seem to do things as per the convenience of the story, instead of doing things because they are that way (I am unable to express this in a more elegant way).
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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