‘Family Star’ movie review: Vijay Deverakonda and Mrunal Thakur cannot salvage this incoherent muddle

Director Parasuram Petla’s Telugu film ‘Family Star’, starring Vijay Deverakonda and Mrunal Thakur, is an incoherent chaos that is neither interesting nor entertaining

April 05, 2024 03:05 pm | Updated 05:47 pm IST

Vijay Deverakonda in ‘Family Star’

Vijay Deverakonda in ‘Family Star’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Towards the intermission of the Telugu film Family Star, when a crucial twist is revealed, the protagonist Govardhan (Vijay Deverakonda) walks away, slowly realising the magnitude of what has just unfolded. He rolls his eyes, shrugs his shoulders and tries to walk with his swagger intact, letting reality sink in. A similar reaction and emotion might describe how this reviewer felt at different times of the film, trying to decipher what exactly the film’s director Parasuram Petla, who has co-written the film with Vasu Varma, intended to convey. The second collaboration of Parasuram and Vijay Deverakonda, years after Geetha Govindam, starring Mrunal Thakur as the female lead, is neither interesting nor entertaining.

True to its title, in the first hour, the narrative depicts how Govardhan, a middle-class family man who shoulders responsibilities, is a star who wears his attitude on his sleeve. He might be heavily budgeting his household expenses (he makes gossamer-thin dosas to make the batter last longer!) that includes his grandmother (Rohini Hattangadi), two brothers, sisters-in-law and their children. He considers his responsibilities as his duty rather than a burden. And, he is no pushover. He can flex his muscles and bend iron if needed; the #AiraneVanchalaEnti episode is designed to cater to the star playing the middle-class man. All these small things, one hopes, will eventually add up to the masala family entertainer.

Family Star (Telugu)
Director: Parasuram Petla
Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Mrunal Thakur
Storyline: A middle-class man’s life goes through a sea change with the arrival of a tenant

However, several questions arise as the film unfolds. Some of them, like his sour relationship with his older brother, are answered eventually, though superficially. It doesn’t help that except for Govardhan, the other family members have little room to make any impression. 

The initial interactions between Govardhan, his family and their new tenant Indu (Mrunal Thakur), supposedly a student at the University of Hyderabad, provide some fun. Each time she calls Govardhan ‘yevandi’, something flutters in him. But the romance, even till the end, is never explored convincingly enough to make us root for them. 

Mrunal Thakur and Vijay Deverakonda in ‘Family Star’

Mrunal Thakur and Vijay Deverakonda in ‘Family Star’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As the scene shifts to the US, the film completely slips into a zone where anything goes in the name of a plot. There is no reason why Indu, a CEO of a leading infrastructure company, does an anthropological thesis on a middle-class man. The differences in strata between Govardhan and Indu, with his aspiration to raise the standard of living for his family while not letting go of his egoistic nature, and she quietly asserting herself while also wallowing in guilt, are also not explored well. All we get are a series of patchily-written incidents.

Every now and then, the underlying aggression in Govardhan’s character is leveraged to underline Vijay Deverakonda’s image as a regular guy who can turn volatile. When he remarks that everyone is judgemental or has a philosophy, it nearly breaks the fourth wall. 

Throughout the 2 hour 35 minute runtime, the film presents several dialogues about middle-class lives and aspirations, the struggle for recognition in corporate settings and the concept of middle-class superstars. However, these points lack a cohesive narrative to anchor them.

When the writing remains muddled, there is nothing the actors can do to salvage the material. Vijay Deverakonda remains charming and energetic, but this film does not tap into his acting potential. Mrunal is saddled with a sketchily written character and after Sita Ramam and Hi Nanna, the romance in this film is rather pale. Several others, including Divyansha Kaushik, Rohini Hattangadi and Vasuki, have nothing to do. The usually resourceful Vennela Kishore is cast in a role that can be described as decent but nothing memorable.

Family Star does no justice to the family quotient or the star material. It is an interesting idea to raise a toast to the star of every middle-class family but that idea is lost in a film that gets progressively boring and tests your patience. The family audience deserve better.

Family Star is currently running in theatres

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