Somewhere in a dusty hamlet, Ali narrates a story to his friends. He announces the arrival of the hero to a village marred by violence and declares the hero will counter the aggression with a double dose of action before he holds forth on the virtues of staying peaceful. That’s how a Telugu film would work, he emphasises.

This passing moment in Doosukeltha is a rare instance of a Telugu film showing an ability to laugh at the idiosyncrasies of its own industry. But such instances are rare in this film directed by Veeru Potla, which largely follows a tried and tested template for comedy — the hero and heroine on the run from the goons, seek shelter in the goon’s own house under false identities and stave off those who know their identity until they accomplish their task. Ironically, it’s this been-there-done-that latter half that keeps you entertained.

Chinna (Vishnu) and Alekhya (Lavanya) know each other since childhood. Chinna is protective of the girl but inadvertently this leads to the girl and her mom being evicted from their father’s ancestral house. The duo crosses paths years later; she is a doctor and he a street-smart youngster who lands himself an investigative television reporting assignment by sheer luck. When Chinna learns that Alekhya is under threat from the patriarchs of her own father’s family, he takes her to the mansion under a different identity to win their hearts. Haven’t we seen such films before?

Yet, this is where the film comes alive with huge help from Brahmanandam. Though his opening sequence falls flat, Brahmanandam keeps you in splits as the film progresses. As always, he is at the receiving end and is often shown his place — in this case, a large rest room.

After Denikaina Ready, this is another film where Vishnu relies on comedy. The portions where he hoodwinks Vennela Kishore and Brahmanandam are a riot. Lavanya has good screen presence and shows promise.

One just wishes this film had a better screenplay, music and was handled with much more finesse in its initial portions and didn’t rely solely on a few gags. The film is enjoyable if you don’t ask questions — for instance, how is a novice with no background in journalism assigned a sting operation on a political heavyweight? Perhaps it helps that the television channel doesn’t take itself seriously (it is curiously named TV 2 1/2)!

DOOSUKELTHA

Cast: Vishnu, Lavanya Tripathi and Brahmanandam

Direction: Veeru Potla

Music: Mani Sharma

Bottomline: Gags save the day