Dharmapadha creations and bigben cinemas in association with Vinoothna Geetha
Vijay DeverakondaRitu VarmaPriyadarshi PullikondaAbhay BethigantiKedar ShankerGururaj ManepaliAnish Kuruvilla
Mr. Raj Kandukuri and Mr. Yash Rangineni
‘Pelli Choopulu’ is one rare, clean rom-com where youngsters are as important as elders. Here, for every youngster who dares to dream, there is an elder who is stuck in a time warp. If Chitra (Ritu Varma) is a woman waging a lonely battle for her independence, her father is a pedestrian middle-class man who is too patriarchal at heart to see the stuff his daughter is made of. As for Prashanth (Vijay Devarakonda), he has to confront a dad who is blind to his son’s strengths.
With a premise as interesting and appealing as it can get, the film narrates a love story peppered with slice-of-life incidents and realistic characters, but also a bit riddled with a flaw (more on this later).
When Prashanth goes with his parents to see a girl, Chitra, as a prelude to engagement, the duo inadvertently get locked up in a room. They use this opportunity to share their respective dad tales, now that Chitra has made it clear that she doesn’t want this marriage. By the end of the conversation, they have bared their hearts, enough to become empathetic toward each other. In come elders, who announce that they are at the wrong place.
The second half is about how Prashanth decides to move on, while Chitra has other plans for themselves. Their tryst ends in a happily-ever-after saga.
Tharun Bascker, who has made some interesting short films in the past, should be congratulated for delivering a neat entertainer that both children and parents in an increasingly urbanising India can relate to. He has stayed away from the temptation of mediocre comedy tracks, and perfunctory songs. The idea of the girl, who is to redeem the boy’s dreams in future (they don’t know each other as yet), eating his first ever culinary preparation is heart-touching. The idea of destiny locking them up (literally) every time is sweet because it’s surreal.
The songs are neatly interwoven into the narration. If the measured conversations between the youngsters and elders are a treat to watch, the comedy quotient is taken care of by Priyadarshi, who, in his Telangana accent, tickles the funny bone. The director fully leverages this talent by having him say the line, ‘Thana prashanthataku veedkolu cheppi..’ – just to make sure that the funny friend mocks Prashanth before the audience does.
In our films, the lazy, irresponsible male lead turns into an Abdul Kalam-kinda hardworker almost overnight – invariably owing to the miracles of the superwoman called heroine. In this realistic film called ‘Pelli Choopulu’, Prashanth takes his sweet time before he learns what standing on his feel is like. He irritates and frustrates, meanwhile. Watch him tell his friends, as they booze, that he will say goodbye to the food truck business and settle down for a comfortable life after marrying Richa. That’s when you know that the writer has averted simplistic understanding of human proclivities.
On the flip side, the film slackens in terms of pace in the second half. One feels it could have been 15 minutes lesser.
Vijay Devarakonda has excelled in the role of a good-for-nothing at studies, who takes brickbats from his dad and bouquets from Chitra. There is no trace of over-acting in him, just as it is the case with every other actor in the movie. Ritu Varma (of ‘Prema Ishq Kadhal’ fame) fits the bill; she delivers a confident act as a career-oriented woman. The scene where she behaves bossy with Vijay stands out.
Priyadarshi is a comedian to watch out for. He is almost poised to take the plunge into big films. Nandu, the two dads, Anish Kuruvilla and others are good.
Vivek Sagar’s songs and BGM go a long way in adding the valued feel-good flavour. Nagesh Banel’s cinematography is another major highlight.
Verdict: A mature rom-com that can entertain both youngsters and elders. Fine performances, neat dialogue, situational humour – you have everything. If the first half is breezy, the second half slows down. But it’s a negative you can overlook because there is plenty of talented writing over there. Watch it.