This film has been publicised as a tearjerker but one walks away loathing the character played by the heroine. It is regressive and has been set against a time when puppetry and other traditional art forms were going extinct in villages and were being replaced by far more modern entertaining activities like the circus and the videos. It is incomprehensible as to how a woman who comes first in school, college and the district, loses her academic future due to the hero, but forgives and embraces him in the finale. The director thereby gives the story a very ordinary and a filmioverdramatic climax and it ends leaving the characters without any empathy. This film is a dubbed version of the Tamil film Aval Peyar Tamilarasi. The film revolves around a family of leather puppeteers who perform shows by singing and showing pictures in light and shadow and move around in different villages to make a living. Nandaghi who belongs to such a family, develops friendship with Jai in one of the shows who is the village headman's grandson. On Jai's insistence, the grandfather allows them to stay in the village and puts Nandaghi and her sibling in a school.

While Nandaghi wins laurels, Jai turns out to be useless, with a inferiority complex and shows his insecurity when she leaves to Pune for counselling having secured an admission in a college with scholarship. He rapes her and stays out of the picture while Nandaghi's mother burns her books, clothes and certificates having learnt the truth.

Nandaghi moves out of the village in a predicament. She is torn between love, gratitude and helplessness after her mother hangs herself and the village headman prostrates at her feet. The movie begins with Jai travelling in a bus and is recollecting the moments when they were 10 years old. He is full of repentance and is hunting for her. After a point, the narration begins to slacken and you start losing interest in Jai. The happy ending could put you off but will not take away your attention from the plot and commendable effort that the director had put in to show a traditional art form struggling to survive and also the resolve and effort a poor family puts in to reach a goal in life. The only regret is the director shows women at that time had no option and even if they had, they are left with no spirit. The cast could have done better but the cinematography, dialogues and music heighten the narration.

BOMMALATA

Cast: Jai, Nandhagi

Direction: Meera Kathiravan

Music: Vijay Antony

Genre: Love

Plot: Tale of an educated poor girl and a rich vagabond.

Bottomline: Strong emotional connection is missing.

Keywords: Tollywood