A…Aa: Simple tale, effectively told

Nithiin and Samantha  

Trivikram Srinivas is one of Telugu cinema’s finest writers and filmmakers. Even in star-driven vehicles where he panders to box office whims, there’s a take away — a thought, a dialogue, construction of a scene — something stays with you. In his latest outing, he doesn’t have to cater to any superstar’s fan base. He is the film’s trump card and has at his disposal two well known actors. And he’d like the audience to look at them as Anand Vihari and Anasuya Ramalingam than Nithiin and Samantha.

Broadly speaking, Anasuya is the female version of Siddharth from Bommarillu. The control freak here is Anasuya’s mother Mahalakshmi, played by Nadhiya. This is not the first time Nadhiya is cast as a stubborn aristocrat but she aces it without going overboard. The father, Ramalingam (a good act by Naresh), is Anasuya’s solace. Unlike Siddharth who tries to prove his worth to his father, Anasuya shrivels and pouts. She’s failed at everything her mother wanted her to be good at, from education to acting, music to dance and doesn’t care. The mother decides that the daughter should be married off. The daughter has neither a say in the choice of groom nor in the clothes she’s supposed to wear for occasions big and small.

Trivikram isn’t telling us a new story. When the girl steps out of this protected environment, she finds joy in the smallest of things, forges new bonds and falls in love. The conflict can be spotted miles away. Anand Vihari’s family welcomes Anasuya with open arms and may take that financial burden of purchasing an expensive television set for her, but there is an underlying tension caused by strained relations between the two families. A…Aa doesn’t aim to be break new grounds, it is content being a simple romance that also addresses family ties. Mickey J Meyer’s music is refreshing and Natarajan’s cinematography is a delight.

When the tension in the romance gets boring, the supporting characters perk things up. Ananya as the sister, Srinivas Avasarala as the chosen groom, Hari Teja as Samantha's aide and the actors who play Nithiin’s mother and friend (Praveen) are apt in their parts.

Anupama Parameswaran is impressive as the besotted Nagavalli. She’s a pint-sized dynamite who walks away with all the attention. She’s dubbed for her part, too, lending it further credence. Rao Ramesh as Ballam Venkanna, Nagavalli’s father, is a scream in the final portions. He gets smart lines that sum up the situation he and his son (Ajay) find themselves in and he lives it up in his inimitable style.

The biggest surprise is Nithiin. He’s shown us that he’s capable of good performances earlier. As Anand Vihari, he delivers his best act till date. A loss in childhood makes his character tough; he knows the limitations with which his family is plodding along, but he won’t cower to anyone. Nithiin plays it all effectively and doesn’t make one false move.

Samantha, after a long time, gets enough screen time and scope to shine. She’s vulnerable as a 23-year-old reeling in her mother’s shadow, can also play the high maintenance, stubborn girl with ease. This is a role she can be proud of.

There are portions that falter. Perhaps the film needn’t have wavered before it got its act together in the later half; perhaps it could have been innovative. The countryside needn’t have been so touched up with visual effects. Samantha could have let go of her vanity a bit… you can see the make up when she wakes up in a hospital bed.

Look beyond such niggles and A… Aa has its heart at the right place and lends itself to a pleasing watch.


Cast: Nithiin, Samantha, Nadhiya, Naresh

Direction: Trivikram Srinivas

Music: Mickey J Meyer

Rating: 3.25

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 4:26:10 AM |

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