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‘Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo’ review: This Trivikram Srinivas and Allu Arjun film hits the right notes

Allu Arjun and Pooja Hegde in the film

Allu Arjun and Pooja Hegde in the film   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

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The duo presents an absorbing and entertaining family drama

Early on in the film, social strata divisions and envy are spelt out clear. Valmiki (Murali Sharma) hardly takes a moment to cherish the news that his wife (Rohini) has delivered a boy. He resents the fact that in the same hospital, his erstwhile colleague and now employer Ramachandra (Jayaram) and his wife (Tabu) have also been blessed with a son, and that’s happened in a more comfortable special ward.

A turn of events later when the respective boys grow up, Valmiki dutifully watches over Ramachandra’s son Raj (Sushanth) while putting down his son Buntu (Allu Arjun) at every given opportunity. Ramachandra is all that Valmiki can never be and the latter lets the resentment grow.

Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo
  • Cast: Allu Arjun, Pooja Hegde, Murali Sharma, Jayaram and Tabu
  • Director: Trivikram Srinivas
  • Music: S S Thaman

Trivikram Srinivas sets the stage for a solid drama of relationships and doesn’t disappoint. Teaming up with Allu Arjun after Julayi and S/O Satyamurthy, he extracts an empathetic performance that also packs in Allu Arjun’s trademark swag.

The strained bond between Valmiki and Buntu plays out well, making it easy to empathise with Buntu’s predicament. He’s at a loss to know why nothing he does can impress his father and why he’s kept at arm’s length.

If that’s Buntu’s plight, very little is revealed about Raj. Inside Ramachandra’s palatial house (Vaikunthapuram), we get just glimpses of everyone — his wife (Tabu), father in law (Sachin Khedekar), Raj and the girl he loves (Nivetha Pethuraj).

The layers will peel gradually, but not before the hero gets an aspirational job in a travel company run by Amulya (Pooja Hegde) and does some globetrotting. Buntu keeps staring at his boss Amulya’s legs (really? why is this passed off as comedy?) and is sent on punishment travels, first to a desert and next to a freezing cold destination. The third trip takes him to Paris, with Amulya, just in time for the hit number ‘Samajavaragamana’ by Sid Sriram. S S Thaman, by the way, has dished out one of his best albums in recent times. Rahul Ramakrishna as the colleague has a brief part but makes his presence felt.

When the narrative moves to its core plot, a few well conceived segments underline that Trivikram is back in form. The episode that juxtaposes how Raj on one hand and Amulya and Buntu on the other deal with their business opponents is a well written one. This segment also lets us in a little more into Ramachandra’s thinking process.

When it’s time to shake up things and place Buntu amid the large family, frictions are laid out in the open. The film largely rides on Allu Arjun and takes a long time to reveal what the other characters are thinking. The poised silence and restraint from Tabu makes sense when her hurt is revealed and when she asks Jayaram ‘don’t I deserve a sorry after all these years?’ Tabu gets a role with limited scope but each time she’s on screen, it’s hard not to notice how she carries herself and the little things she does. Jayaram impresses and hopefully we will see him in more Telugu films.

The film is packed with many well known names; a few get scenes that are worthy of their presence while many others remain bystanders, merely roped in to be a part of a big project. Sushanth gets very little, rather late. Nivetha Pethuraj and Navdeep are among those who are short changed. Samuthirakani as Appala Naidu and Govind Padmasoorya as Paidithalli are, again, brief parts.

Ultimately, it’s Allu Arjun’s show and he goes all out. The scene where he discovers a truth and the confrontation that follows is among the film’s best segments. He and Murali Sharma (he’s so good that you’ll hate him) have quite a few run-ins as well.

P S Vinod’s cinematography and the chic styling work to the advantage of the film.

Once a key revelation is made, the story takes a familiar route but still manages to charm with subtle nuances. Can a mother accept someone who turns out to be better than her son? When a son doesn’t yearn for wealth or identity, why does he step up and fight the battles? It answers such questions and more.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:53:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/ala-vaikunthapurramuloo-review-this-trivikram-srinivas-and-allu-arjun-film-hits-the-right-notes/article30549122.ece

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