Showing the plight of farmers and how a good-hearted hero saves them and their land is an overused trope in mainstream cinema. But imagine looking at it in the context of a hero who you can’t take too seriously. Wherever he is, there’s bound to be trouble. If at all there’s something the hero is seriously working at, it’s in trying to change his singleton status.
Director Venky Kudumula places such a character in the centre of a farming war. The result is a partly farcical comedy that’s at times deliberately frustrating and at other times, lends itself to laugh aloud segments.
There are two Bheeshmas in the film — Nithiin and veteran Kannada actor Anant Nag. The former thinks his name is the reason behind his jinx in romance and his desperation shows whenever he spots an attractive woman. The latter is sworn to bachelorhood and helms Bheeshma Organics, a company through which he encourages natural farming that’s beneficial for both the soil and people.
It’s anyone’s guess that destiny will bring the two Bheeshmas together and the farmers will be in safe hands. But to begin with, the two Bheeshmas seem like two ends of a spectrum. The young bachelor is an irritant not only to women, but also to men. Ask Vennela Kishore. It’s a hilarious track all through the film where Nithiin’s actions spell doom for Kishore, who is a gold medal winning post graduate in agriculture but is reduced to being a chauffeur.
Bheeshma comes at a time when Nithiin, who has often been questioned about his single status, is finally getting hitched. On screen, he does a good job of letting his character’s frustrations show. It feels so apt when Kishore calls him a ‘despo’ at one point. Nithiin’s character is unlucky in love but immensely lucky otherwise; big things just happen to him as a result of being at the right place at the right time.
The comedy woven around him ranges from lines that look like they’ve been picked from banal WhatsApp forwards (Raghubabu and Kishore shut their ears in a scene where Nithiin reels off rhyming lines, soon after an action scene) to some comedy-of-errors, especially the one involving Nithiin and police officer Sampath Raj.
Other than Anant Nag and his arch rival Raghavan (Jisshu Sengupta), who wants to implement a new method of exploitative chemical farming, no other character demands to be taken seriously. There are fun situations involving almost every supporting character, including Sampath Raj who is introduced as the fierce cop. The portion where Nithiin confronts his parents following a big pre-interval development is hilarious.
Rashmika Mandanna as Chaitra gets a role that requires her to be a little more than cute and charming. Her character gets better as it progresses. She does a fine job of portraying the naivete required of her in some portions and then looks every bit the young woman who’s sure of what she wants.
Venky Kudumula ties up the different threads to the story well. Even a regular hero introduction scene has its relevance in the story, as revealed later. Casting Anant Nag and Jisshu Sengupta for those pivotal parts, which the two actors perform earnestly, also work in favour of the film.
Bheeshma is not the smartest film around but is reasonably entertaining. Like the hero says, “haasam” — not awesome but there’s haasyam (humour), even if not all of it is politically correct.