The most interesting, and ironically funny, segment in this film is when Abhi (Ram) and Vasu (Sree Vishnu) invite Maha (Anupama) for coffee and impress upon her that their friendship means the world to them. Then, one after another, they confess their love to her. Maha’s expression tries to convey shock, surprise and everything in between. In the meantime, we are laughing aloud because of the way the scene plays out.
There’s no heavy duty drama when the friends discover they’ve fallen for the same girl; they are upfront about it and let her make the choice. This is where Kishore Tirumala pulls a surprise and steers clear of a cinematic cliché. Until that point, he drops broad hints — of friends having parted ways and there’s a girl in the picture… as though he’s building up to a usual melodrama. But the way the friends deal with the conflict and the joint proposal scene breaks free from the been-there-seen-that routine.
- Cast: Ram Pothineni, Anupama Parameswaran, Lavanya Tripathi and Sree Vishnu
- Direction: Kishore Tirumala
- Story: A coming-of-age story of two friends who don’t want anything, romance included, to come in between them.
The title might remind us of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara but this film has nothing to do with it. There are several segments with the markings of a slice-of-life buddy flick. The narrative doesn’t make the other friends, played aptly by Priyadarshi and Kireeti Damaraju, mere props. Their voices also matter in this story that’s essentially about Abhi and Vasu. Kireeti, despite hanging out with his alcohol-loving friends, finds peace in a pulpy orange drink. Contrasting this nice-guy part is Priyadarshi with his cocky demeanour that comes to the fore even if he plays cricket as the 13th man! The humour is clean and the story unfolds in Vizag and Ooty, captured beautifully by Sameer Reddy’s cinematography and Devi Sri Prasad’s crisp background score.
For those who’ve watched the director’s earlier Nenu Shailaja , the similarities in storytelling are striking. This one too begins with a childhood episode and here too, there’s a girl who feels weighed down by her family (the father, in this case). Thankfully these similarities don’t linger for too long.
The portion where Maha realises her childhood dream of singing on stage, with the help of Abhi and his music band, is enjoyable. Ram and Anupama are lovely in their parts; and Sree Vishnu befits the part of a brooding guy. If only the classical-contemporary fusion music had been better and seamless. Elsewhere, DSP makes a mark with the catchy ‘Whatamma, what is this amma?’.
What develops as a breezy story gets clunky, with one too many dialogues about friendship. There is an effort to lighten it up with some fun. Unlike Maha, the character of Maggie (Lavanya Tripathi) is a light-hearted one and the actor pulls it off well. It’s a relief not to see Lavanya in those flowy lehengas she had become synonymous with.
There’s a lot to like in this film and yet, it feels like a stretch. A crispier narrative would have made it a good coming-of-age buddy flick.