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2 Countries review: ‘Two’ much to handle

This film 2 Countries is testimony to how a string of initial successes can trap an actor in a certain image and make him lose sight of his strengths. Sunil’s on-screen appearances now feel so self-conscious and rehearsed. He steps into the shoes of a naïve yet money-minded Ullas Kumar in this ‘dramedy’, a remake of the Malayalam blockbuster by the same name. The joke is on the audience here though; nothing of what he does works — neither the Maryada Ramanna like antics, the indulgent ‘mega’ references nor his breathless, sarcastic dialogue delivery with a deadpan expression.

Exaggeration and cinematic liberties drive old-fashioned escapist comedies, but 2 Countries takes a viewer’s intelligence for a ride. Ullas is a wastrel in Venkatapuram. In a bid to challenge a politician by the same name in the forthcoming elections, he contests for a party represented by a frog,whose speeches begin with lines like ‘bek bek bek, who let the frogs out’. The character changes his marriage plans in the last minute when he finds a wealthier girl. He misleads Laya (Manisha Raj) into thinking he is a good guy and yawn, the two share a flashback where as children they drank ‘kallu’ without their parents’ knowledge and have a soft spot for each other. When the story shifts to US in the second hour, it gets so absurd that a flawed character like Ullas helps his wife’s transformation from alcoholism to normalcy.

2 Countries
  • Cast: Sunil, Manisha Raj
  • Direction: N Shankar
  • Music: Gopi Sundar
  • Storyline: A wastrel tries to transform his drunkard wife

N Shankar does much to salvage the film, to no avail. The girl’s drunken ways are attributed to a troubled childhood, both their parents are separated and have married again. Sunil addresses these characters as first mummy, second father and so on. A glass of vodka is symbolised as American culture and Telugu is painfully anglicised. There are frequent voyeuristic innuendos and also lines like ‘vadu gay, vaditho games adaku’,a marriage being defined as ‘seven steps, a triple knot, two people and one bed’. It’s a film where humour is about the couple addressing each other like ‘country pumpkin’ and ‘dustbin’.

How Telugu cinema perpetuates racism is clearly evident; every second character is defined by his/her colour tone, one of them is also named Boggu Babji.

Actors like Chandra Mohan, Naresh, Jhansi, Sithara and Srinivas Reddy get a raw deal. Prudhviraj, though in a predictable part, brings some comic-relief to a drab narrative. Gopi Sundar’s music comes a cropper. Manisha Raj tries too hard to weave sense into a poorly etched character. The curtains are down for 2017 with a whimper.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 10:32:12 PM |

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