Chandama Kathalu is a film that should have succeeded LBW and preceded A Routine Love Story, both by the same director. The second movie is a notch better and to be fair, proved that the director is truly cut out for a commercial cinema. Praveen Sattaru needs an upgrade in terms of budget and saleable artistes to be successful but sadly, to stay visible and in circulation, he settles down for an eight-story film, each of which remains independent of the other. We have seen a couple of multi-narrative films in Telugu; Praveen’s film when compared to the rest is well-crafted, intelligent, progressive, doesn’t resort to clichés and has its own defined climax moment.

The director has a talent for picking the right cast and crew for the film and is a very good story teller. Yet he falters in the first half itself; by the time the intermission is announced, the audience has lost the urge to sit back to see how the lives of the multiple characters will take a turn, the conflict point doesn’t arrive at all. Out of the eight stories, only a few strike an emotional chord. Most of them move on a sad tone. The run time is good and he made an effort to keep it racy but in the process all characters seemed to be in a hurry to wind up their stories.

The performances of the ensemble cast are all impressive, an asset to the movie and they stretch the dramatic tension pos- interval but despite that we do not find the film riveting hugely because of the unoriginal plots.

The Aamani and Naresh story is a straight lift from Life In A Metro (Dharmendra and Nafisa Ali do the part). Naresh seems to enjoy his part and shows what an experienced actor can bring to the screen. The Beggar’s story gives you a déjà vu feel. Lakshmi Prasanna is a fine actor, her English would make us wince but the cultivated accent is perfect for this role and she is just herself. The story with the greatest disconnect is Naga Shourya’s. It basically begins with a single parent winding up his eight stories and negotiating with a publisher for an amount that can save his daughter suffering from cancer. The rest are all good, charming, serious, subtle, passionate as their roles demanded

Mickey J Myer is clearly running out of tunes. Cinematography adds value and the dialogues are simple and relatable. Wish the director had limited himself to a few stories and dealt with them in detail so as to give us an an insight to the character’s history.

This is purely a multiplex movie made watchable because of performances and narration.

What may work against the film in single screen theatres is the lack of formula entertainment, familiar faces and a prolonged climax.

Chandama Kathalu

Cast: Lakshmi, Aamani, Naresh

Direction: Praveen Sattaru

Music: Mickey J. Meyer

Plot: A writer gives eight short stories to a publisher to save his daughter’s life

Bottomline: Interesting but not fresh