Cinema

Naruda Donoruda: So near and yet so far

Sumanth in a still from ‘Naruda Donoruda’  

We live in a time when we chance upon infertility centres in every neighbourhood, each one making taller claims than the other. Child-bearing has swiftly turned into a lucrative business, with infertility centres at times turning to sperm donors for help.

No eyebrows are raised at couples making a beeline at infertility centres, but someone eking a living through sperm donation is bound to draw curious looks. Naruda Donoruda trains its attention on one such sperm donor, Vikram a.ka. Vicky (Sumanth).

Hailing from a middle-class neighbourhood, Vicky is yet to find his calling and lives off his mother, who runs a beauty parlour at home, and his grandmother. A chance meeting with Dr. Anjaneyulu (Tanikella Bharani) sets him on the unusual job of sperm donation. Reluctant at first, but eventually hooked by the money, he plays along.

Debut director Mallik Ram’s narration is on the same lines as the original Hindi film, Vicky Donor. Writers Kittu Vissapragada and Vidyasagar Rachakonda attempt to recreate that effortless charm of the original, re-imagining the witty lines between Annu Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurana in a Hyderabad-relevant setting. Tanikella Bharani does a tightrope walk mouthing lines that can come off as in-your-face and risqué. If the loaded lines aren’t enough, he’s made to wear t-shirts that reflect his obsession with sperms! The veteran actor handles his part well, and gives the character its much-needed depth in the later portions.

As Vicky basks in his strike rate, his mother and grandmother are happy that his new-found business is fetching him good returns. Srilakshmi is apt in the mother’s role. Her comic portions with the actress who plays the grandmother are fun to watch, especially when the two share a drink and take a jibe at each other.

The film is a brave attempt at presenting a story that deals with a quirky, sensitive theme to the Telugu audience. But the narration comes across as forced and staged for a good hour or so. There are interesting characters, hilarious lines and yet, an unmistakeable sense of boredom sets in. The self-conscious, strained approach shows.

The film comes into its own much later, as the emotional drama between Vikram and Ashima Roy (Pallavi Subhash) takes over. Both Sumanth and Pallavi seem in control of this segment rather than the initial portions. Pallavi’s styling and mannerisms remind one of Yami Gautam. Had she done it in her own way, perhaps, one could have connected with her better. Also, the Telugu-Bengali cultural differences that play out between the two families remain superficial and sketchy.

Naruda Donoruda has the ethos of a small film, abiding by its storyline and doing away with needless songs and comedy tracks. Sricharan Pakala’s music blends with the narrative, shining through the pivotal segments.

Where Vicky Donor stood out with its sharp writing and seemingly effortless performances and execution, Naruda Donoruda tries too hard to impress. That makes all the difference.

Naruda Donoruda

Cast: Sumanth, Tanikella Bharani, Pallavi Subhash

Direction: Mallik Ram

Rating: 2.5

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 11:39:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/Naruda-Donoruda-So-near-and-yet-so-far/article16436605.ece

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