If marriage is a leap of faith, should we attach so much significance to it? Aren’t we better off being single? If romantic notions eventually fade in the humdrum of everyday life, will our love be strong enough to weather the changes? We have all asked these pertinent questions, have had endless discussions with friends, newly-weds and elders and wondered if it makes sense to take hesitant, baby steps into a relationship. Mohana Krishna Indraganti discusses these thoughts through Anthaka Mundu Aa Taruvatha, one of the most sensible films of the year so far.

Anil (Sumanth Ashwin) wants to leave behind his small town moorings and experience urban life — find a cushy job, date a pretty girl, and perhaps consider marriage. The last in the list is not his priority because, like many young men, he is unsure if marriage will be as rosy as romance. On the pretext of delivering flowers for a wedding, sourced from his father (Rao Ramesh)’s farm, he visits Hyderabad and chances upon Ananya (Eesha). Their initial romance is postcard-perfect but Ananya is sceptical, seeing her mother (Madhoo) give in to frustration at having to sacrifice her acting dreams at the behest of the father (Ravi Babu).

It takes a while to warm up to the story as you’re introduced to a number of characters — the jewellery-crazy Rohini (Sumanth’s mother), the soft-spoken Srinivas Avasarala (the hero’s sounding board from his native town), Madhoo trying her best to put up with her claustrophobic married life, a co-worker who rues his loss of freedom post marriage… As you watch each of these characters, the director gives you hints; hints of a back-story to each character, of personality traits and their view on relationships.

The lead pair finds itself at crossroads, not knowing if they are meant to be married for a lifetime, and they decide on a secret live-in relationship. Can they be with each other when they stop trying to impress each other? Can they cook, wash, run errands and tolerate each other’s mood swings?

Through what seems like a simple love story, Indraganti discusses people and mindsets. He makes a comment on misogyny, on regressive television soaps and game shows, on people who make a living out of such content, on stereotyped notion of responsibility of women and so on. Just when you begin to get tired of watching the skirmishes of the young lovers, the director ties up the different threads of the story beautifully.

Watch out for Sumanth Ashwin. He gets his emotions right and looks convincing as a man doubtful of making a life-long commitment. With the right kind of films, he is here to stay. Eesha is appealing and comes up trumps in a role that’s not easy for a newcomer. This film is an example of how a good filmmaker can use his supporting actors well. Rao Ramesh, Rohini, Madhoo, Ravi Babu, Srinivas Avasarala, Jhansi and even Thagubothu Ramesh (for once, he isn’t drunk on screen) are apt in their respective roles.

P.G. Vinda’s cinematography and Kalyani Malik’s music add to the film’s aesthetic appeal. At times, the pace slows down and the characters succumb to melodrama. But if you’re willing to overlook these, you will come away smiling. More importantly, it’s a simple yet mature film with something each one of us can relate to.

ANTHAKA MUNDU AA TARUVATHA

Direction: Mohana Krishna Indraganti

Cast: Sumanth Ashwin, Eesha, Madhoo, Rohini and Rao Ramesh

Music: Kalyani Malik

Bottomline: A sensible take on relationships that leaves you with a smile.