The Tamil movie Chithhais now playing in cinemas across the UAE. It is directed by SU Arunkumar and stars Siddharth, Nimisha Sajayan, Anjali Nair, Sahasra Sree, S Abiya Tasneem.

How to watch Chithha in the UAE

Chithha is currently showing in cinemas across the UAE, such as VOX Cinema and Novo Cinemas. It will probably be a while before the film hits streaming services in the UAE.

Chithha Review

Chithha review

  • Emotionally gripping
  • Siddharth is effective
  • Sensible screenplay
  • Much needed message
  • Understated approach


  • Slow narration
  • Couple of missteps in second half
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One of the banes of Tamil filmdom is the ‘message movie’. A movie carrying in its fold a well-intentioned idea is deemed good cinema if the said info is drummed into our ears with in-your-face filmmaking and caricatured characters. A small piece of advice is taken to make up for poor filmmaking. Critics who point this out are seen as malcontents, the bad apples that spoil the entire basket. 

In such a skewed situation, when a movie arrives with a relevant and much-needed message but does not in any way compromise on the essentials of good storytelling, then you have to sit up and clap. And that is what one has to do with Chithha, most expertly staged and delivered by SU Arunkumar, the director who impressed with his 2014 film Pannaiyarum Padminiyum. Like in PP, he brings to Chithha an understatedness that adds dignity to the proceedings in a movie whose subject calls for sincere and credible handling. One wrong step could have derailed the entire movie. But Arunkumar shows great control, both in the narrative and in his other creative choices, that by the end of the film, it is not impossible to easily overlook a few small missteps here and there.

The crux of the story is about child abuse, and in the hands of a lesser director, this would have become a moral lesson session. Arunkumar instead makes it part of an emotional story and infuses a mainstream vigilante justice trope into it. Arunkumar’s able ally has been his actors who understand the movie’s pitch and don’t play their notes either too low or too up. This has to be Siddharth’s most measured show in his two-decades-long acting career.

He plays Easwaran, a government employee and a doting uncle (chittappa in Tamil, hence the title Chithha), to his brother’s (who is demised) 8-year-old daughter Sundari (Sahasra Sree). The uncle and niece share a great bond filled with warmth and bonhomie. Easwaran lives with his widowed sister-in-law (Anjali Nair) and Sundari in the same house. These are the portions that are usually maudlin in Tamil movies. But here, it is treated maturely as it would play out in most houses in real life. Easwaran’s girlfriend is Sakthi (Nimisha Sajayan). 

Easwaran’s life is turned upside down when he is framed as the perpetrator of abuse that his friend’s young daughter suffers. While the real criminal is scot-free, an innocent man is trapped. Again, these moments are generally milked for lachrymal emotions in a standard Tamil film. But Arunkumar keeps it all natural and on an even keel.

Soon enough, Easwaran’s niece also goes missing, and the uncle must clear his name and search for the young girl. The story does not play out in such simplistic terms and there is plenty of discernment in how it unfolds. Like in Gargi, one of the standout films of 2022 that also dealt with a similar theme, Chithha keeps it real and resonant.

Siddharth is, as we said, top-notch, and Nimisha Sajayan, who is making her debut in Tamil, gets a well-written character. Her performance is as ever solid and believable. Anjali Nair is adequate, while the young Sahasra Sree is splendid. 

Arunkumar’s other able lieutenant has been cinematographer Balaji, who fills the frames that fit the narrative. He never tries to be cutesy. 

As this is a home production of Siddharth, he deserves a pat for backing a sensitive subject and the director for delivering it in the manner it deserves to be.  

What are the other critics saying about Chithha?

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Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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