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'Tholu Bommalata' movie review: Heart-warming and entertaining

Vennela Kishore and Rajendra Prasad in ‘Tholu Bommalata’

Vennela Kishore and Rajendra Prasad in ‘Tholu Bommalata’  

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This Rajendra Prasad-starrer is a cinematic parable

Those who have seen director Chandra Siddartha’s Aa Naluguru will find a few similarities here, about family members sparring with each other for property and caring less for the patriarch, played by Rajendra Prasad. However Tholu Bommalata has a nice, fresh concept. Though it runs the risk of seeming like a television soap with excessive sentiment and family values, those who appreciate good cinema will not walk out unhappy.

Newcomer Vishwanath Maganti has done a commendable job in understanding Rajendra Prasad — the seasoned actor’s theatrics are controlled and exploited to evoke the right dose of sentiment and bringing his rapport with Vennela Kishore alive in crucial scenes. Tholu Bommalata (puppet show) is an apt title, to fit the drama let loose via Santosh (Vennela Kishore), one of Somaraju’s (Rajendra Prasad) grandsons, to teach a lesson to family the members by the grandfather.

Tholu Bommalata (Telugu)
  • Cast: Rajendra Prasad, Vennela Kishore, Vishwanth, Harshita
  • Direction: Vishwanath Maganti
  • Music: Suresh Bobbili

It is a regular story of an old man who lives alone with his servant (Dhanraj); his family seldom visits him. The youngsters — bava and maradalu (Vishwanth and Harshita Chowdary) have fallen in love and seek the grandfather’s support to get married. The discord in the families disappears when they know the rice mill will be given to the grandchildren if they get married but all hell breaks loose when Somaraju dies bequeathing the property to the employees of his rice mill and the house to his domestic help. His children threaten to leave without conducting the 12th day ceremony when the grandson takes on the onus of wrapping up the rituals, driving the story to an emotional climax.

There are a few drawbacks in the film that test your patience — the romantic track in office and certain scenes induced to generate comedy. While that misfires, the film drags mostly in the first half. Post-interval, the right reveal and some good dialogues written by the director brings back life into the story.

What keeps the audience engaged primarily is Vennela Kishore’s track — a simpleton who actually sees the ‘atma’ of the dead people and has conversations with them. Here, Somaraju takes the help of Santosh and accomplishes his task before his soul leaves on the 12th day, after which all’s well that ends well.

The dialogues sparkle, it’s a perfect mix from contemporary films and reflects sentiments and feelings from a generation that spells wisdom. The film could have been easily trimmed by 20 minutes. While Rajendra Prasad’s part is designed to give this generation a peak into what happens after a person’s death in the 12 days and the importance of rituals surrounding therein, Vennela Kishore’s comic relief balances the sentiment and shows what a fine actor he is. The supporting cast have done a good job too. Vishwanath Maganti shows promise both as a writer and a director. The film is technically sound and the background score gives a déjà vu feel.

 

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 10:23:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/tholu-bommalata-rajendra-prasad-and-vennela-kishore-shine-in-this-heart-warming-and-entertaining-story/article30050203.ece

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