You step into a high-end café, pore over the laborious menu, choose an exotic dish and as you wait for it to be served, you take in the tastefully done-up ambience of the eatery. The dish arrives, you take a bite and even if it falls short of being a gourmet fare, you don’t complain. You’re happy with the décor, cutlery, service and the music played at the café and try not to nitpick. We found ourselves in a similar situation watching Puri Jagannandh’s stylish offering, Iddarammayilatho.
Akanksha (Katherine Teresa), daughter of a union minister (played by Rao Ramesh) heads to Spain for higher studies and chances upon a diary in the house she rents. Through the diary that belongs to the previous tenant, Komali Sankarabharanam (Amala Paul), Akanksha learns the love story of Komali and Sanju Reddy (Allu Arjun), a street performer and a lead guitarist in a band.
The love story is told at leisure, giving enough time for cinematographer Amol Rathod to treat us to gorgeous snapshots of Barcelona and Allu Arjun to prove, once again, that he’s one of the best dancers in this industry.
The street smart guitarist Sanju and the shy, timid Komali have nothing else but music in common. Komali comes to Barcelona to learn classical music from, hold your breath, Brahmanandam! Remember you’re watching a Puri Jagannadh film and it’s pointless to ask why a girl would come all the way to Europe to learn Indian classical music or how she finds fresh jasmine flowers in Barcelona. You brush these thoughts aside taken in by the foot-tapping numbers and the soothing violin musical montages by Devi Sri Prasad. The love story comes to an abrupt halt in the diary leaving unanswered questions. Piqued by curiosity, Akanksha trails Sanju to discover more.
Iddarammayilatho is a commercial cocktail that packs in a bit of romance, laughter, mystery, greed and crime. It crawls at a snail’s pace in certain portions while it entertains when you least expect it to. A fair amount of mystery sustains the interest till the end.
Both Allu Arjun and Amala Paul have terrific screen presence. Styled impeccably by Ashwin Mawle, Allu Arjun uses his agility to his advantage in dances and stunt episodes. A couple of stunts have been choreographed (by Kicha) almost like dance sequences. A wee bit of unpredictability lends depth and intrigue to Allu Arjun’s character.
Amala Paul manages to pull off a character that traverses a thin line between being naïve and downright silly. We wish we saw more of her. Of Katherine Teresa’s acting skills or screen presence, the less said the better.
The Brahmanandam-Ali episodes are more annoying than laughter-inducing. As Allu Arjun chases down Shawar Ali, you wonder how a street performer single-handedly untangles a web of crime and corruption in a foreign country.
This is a film that looks to camouflage its shallowness with dollops of style. Cinematographer Amol Rathod seems to love the sunlight so much that he bathes the frames with its glorious rays right till the end.
Iddarammayilatho is a visual and musical treat that offers nothing new in its storytelling, nevertheless it’s entertaining.
Cast: Allu Arjun, Amala Paul and Katherine Teresa
Director: Puri Jagannadh
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
Story line: A love story that gets entangled in a mesh of corruption-driven crime.
Bottom line: Oodles of style and little else.