Sekhar Kammula's erstwhile assistant, Saikiran Adivi, is out with his directorial debut Vinayakudu with a tag (of course it has to have a tag) "A big fat love story". It has all the elements of what is now officially known as the Kammula School of Thought. But like the other associate's flick released last week (Avakai Biryani), it is not quite Kammula. Understandable. But it shows some potential and the good news is that a new mileu of filmmakers and respective audiences are awakening to different kind of cinema in Telugu. In short, the pros: an interesting storyline, a little humor and a 'realistic' approach. The cons: lacklustre script and some scenes which drag alongside some questions about the context itself. Read on.
Plot Karthik is fat, unhip, good at heart, fun and comes to Hyderabad to work. At his office, he meets Kalpana, an independant and opinionated girl who dislikes him as soon as she is introduced while he falls in love with her. Their problems include but are not limited to the difference in their weights and personalites and the fact that she has a ready parents-approved suitor at hand.
Story, Screenplay and Direction Like Maggi Ketchup, 'It's Different'. But unlike the Ketchup, it's not chatpata. Even though it's fiction, it's actually a sensitive subject beneath all the humor facade. An obese man and his love life, that too with a slender and fiery female. The subject needs to be treated with some caution, and though it does not succumb to the obtuse angle of say a Kitakitalu which has a similar storyline, it has it's minuses. Why is he so..dumb? So does Fat=Dumb? Even if it's not so, it's hard to see why the girl is attracted to him or gels with him apart from his happy-go-lucky nature apparently and a 'good heart' (with the possibilty of cholesterol in future). It's not merely about the weight, but his entire personality comes across as being stupid or uncool many times. And many contradictions. Among others, he is supposed to have inherited the weight issue from his parents but can't lay off food and grabs a laddoo without brushing his teeth bang in the first 10 minutes of the movie.
There is one particular scene in the movie where Altaf has a fight with Sandhya (Poonam Kaur): a boys versus girls debate. This turns into Karthik and Kalpana's debate and they have a showdown. While the pitch and the tempo of the scene is good, it's more or less clichéd. Still, the writing was well-thought of and that's evident in certain scenes, but not the script in it's entirety. Sometimes it's shoddy, especially the office scenes and unnecessary tracks and characters. The other thing is..why is an African lady speaking fluent Telugu named Rachana and an oriental gal called Shruti? Since when?
Some of the dialouges and several chunks of the movie have as much finnesse as a short flick made by students learning the art of filmmaking. The other no-go is the special appearance of the producer himself as the boss of the organization (cleverly disguising his acting abilities by making him an expressionless boss who intimidates people-smart work that) and also rounding off the movie with he and his wife featuring in their wedding anniversary bash and giving gyan on what makes a strong marriage. Okay, great. Not. Actually by this time you feel sorry for the director and figure out that maybe everything is not his fault. Some of the performances are (yawn) amateurish and the background needed honing. The direction has some potential but needs some toning.
Performances Krishnudu as Karthik acts dumb a whole lot and stares blankly. Now the trick is to figure out whether it's for real or that's how his character brief was given to him. It will take one more movie to figure out his potential as an actor. Sonia is natural and her looks are an asset for her. Suryatej as Altaf is not bad as is Poonam. Satya Krishnan as Karthik's sister is good. The guy who played Ananth, the office casanova is convincing but he needs to discard the accent next time and Ankitha is okay.
Song and Dance Not bad but nothing memorable. The background could have been better.
Last Word It's time for Telugu cinema to come of age and take in different genres, meaning have an appreciative audience and a definitive commercial value even when the big stars are not a part of it. While movies such as these are a step in the right direction, this particular one is not particularly fabulous or unforgettable. Au Contraire, it's just okay.