'Fidaa' review: rooted in reality

Director Sekhar Kammula returns with a heart-warming romantic musical, powered by compelling characters

July 21, 2017 04:17 pm | Updated 11:13 pm IST

Romantic musicals are becoming a rare breed. Tougher to come by are on-screen romances that seem so real. Watching Fidaa is like taking a stroll on the countryside in a drizzle. It’s beautiful, dreamy and yet not escapist. Nothing is overtly romanticised. At the heart of this drama are powerful characters drawn to each other and find that their own misgivings stand in the way of taking their relationship forward.

Sekhar Kammula’s insightful screenplay makes all the difference to a simple story. He takes us into the rustic Bhanswada where Bhanumati (Sai Pallavi), an agriculture student, comes home in the wake of an NRI suitor (Raja) meeting her sister (Saranya). Kammula establishes the family’s line of thinking without much ado. They don’t make a big deal of inter-caste marriage; the father puts his daughters’ welfare above everything. If Bhanumati has an assured head on her shoulders, it’s because she’s never been made to feel secondary to anyone.

Fidaa revolves around the fiesty Bhanumati; she’s innocent, haughty and unpredictable all at once. We are sucked into Bhanu’s world as she eavesdrops on conversations between the bride and groom, curses when she scurries along in the rain to get usirikai pachadi and wonders why daughters have to move away from parents after marriage.

The meeting and subsequent romance between Bhanu and Varun (Varun Tej, younger brother of the groom and a doctor) happens in a love-hate-love manner. They’re both enamoured, yet don’t go weak in the knees blinded by love. The setting adds to the charm. The Bhanswada house looks lived in, not like a make-believe set. The Telangana dialect is spot on and a lot of humour is woven in matter-of-factly. Jeevan’s background score adds mirth to the already lively proceedings.

Did Kammula write Bhanumati with Sai Pallavi in mind or was she chosen after the character was written? She’s so good you can’t take your eyes off her. She makes the entire film her own. Varun, in comparison, gets a part where he has to be measured, subtle and he does it well. Long after Kanche he gets a film that channelises his acting abilities.

The first major point of conflict comes through a misunderstanding, which is a downer. When everything else seems non-filmy and contemporary, lovers torn apart over a misunderstanding seems a little staid. But the actors make up for it. When the drama shifts to the US, the tone gets a little uneven.

Songs by Shakti Kanth and Vijay Kumar’s cinematography complement the narrative. Supporting actors Sai Chand, Raja, Geeta Bhaskar as the aunt, child actor Aryan and Satyam Rajesh are good in their parts.

Fidaa is not without niggles. But what makes it compelling is a story rooted in reality. The girl having her way, at the end, is the icing on the cake.

Fidaa

Cast : Sai Pallavi, Varun Tej

Direction : Sekhar Kammula

Story : A Telangana girl and an NRI from the US fall in love, overcome ideological differences.

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