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Kotha Bangaru Lokam October 30, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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16 comments

“Dil” Raju does it again. A largely hypeless film before its release it’s now having everyone rave about it. Once you watch it comparisons to Bommarillu are inevitable and for a change the filmmakers don’t have to be worried about that. Kotha Bangaru Lokam holds its own extremely well and will surely be remembered as yet another great entertainer from Raju’s stable.

To put it very crudely it could called Bommarillu for Teens for here too the underlying thread is about parents well-intentioned hopes and aspirations for their offspring and how they might conflict with the latter’s own desires. Unlike Bommarillu which definitely had a more complex conflict to resolve while fairly trying to represent each side, KBL’s content is much more straightforward – for here we have two students still studying Intermediate at a residential college who fall in love and as expected do not find favor with their parents. We have seen a lot of films where the protagonists are studing in a junior college (In recent years Teja’s films are the ones which might come to your mind first. I am sure if and when he watches this he’ll kill himself out of embarrassment). Coming back to the point, this is really the film where I’ve seen a rather realistic (compared to other films) portrayal of students and their life in a residential college. For once, all the actors really look and act their intended age and especially the gang of girls is hilarious. I also liked the way Balu (Varun Sandesh) and Swapna (Shweta Prasad) eventually fall in love. It might seem stupid when you see this in another movie but because of the setting it gels perfectly.

The film is beautifully shot (especially the song picturizations) – the best in recent times and Mickey J Meyer’s music works wonders. Varun Sandesh and Shweta Prasad do a nice job. Especially Sandesh’s styling to suit the look of an Intermediate student deserves mention. Prakash Raj and Jayasudha can sleepwalk through roles like these and it’s always a pleasure to watch them. There are a lot of new faces also who do well for themselves. Debutant Director Srikanth Addala (who is also credited for the story, screenplay and dialogues) makes a brilliant debut. The film is almost three hours long but you never feel the length as it is so unusually gripping for a theme like this. No doubt I had a great time watching this.

Happy Days November 11, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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11 comments

It has turned out to be his biggest box office success till date but I consider Sekhar Kammula’s “Happy Days” to be his least accomplished work….which does not mean that it’s a bad film. It just didn’t strike a chord with me unlike his previous films.

Supposed to be a nostalgic look at the director’s own happy days at his alma mater CBIT, the plot is about a group of friends and the time they spend together during their 4 years of college. More specifically, one half the film deals with their first year and the interaction with their seniors while the other is about their heartaches and strained relationships. It is the first half which I found quite disappointing and that’s what gave me a less favorable impression of the movie as a whole. The complete handling of the juniors vs seniors thread (except for the senior guy falling for the junior girl angle) is very juvenile. All you have in it is a guy (the character Tyson) who concocts unbelievable stuff in his lab to trouble his seniors. This part really put me off. It was seriously unfunny and unrealistic to say the least…and especially coming from a director of Kammula’s stature. However, he is is in familiar territory when it comes to handling the interactions with his lead pairs. It does remind you of his previous films Anand and Godavari but nevertheless pleasant to watch.

What works most for this film is the fresh cast and the musical score. Sandesh and Tamanna stand out among the cast and the way they emote is excellent. I however had a hard time listening to Rahul (who plays Tyson) speak (but I must admit that in real life I have come across people who speak like that). Mickey J Meyer’s score is brilliant. It is an understatement to say that this film would have felt half as good without it.

One of the main reasons I could not appreciate this film as much as others have is because personally there was hardly anything I found here which I could relate to my own college life. I am sure others would have different perspectives and that’s probably why it is still running to packed houses even weeks after its release. On the whole, this is a film which has its moments and is definitely watchable but it would do good not to go and see this with high expectations.