Reviews

Chuttalabbayi: A lost opportunity

Namitha Pramod and Aadi in the film  

Director Veerabhadram returns to a familiar terrain with Chuttalabbayi that hits theatres nearly three years after his Bhai, an outing that tried to punch above its weight. With this film though, the filmmaker sticks to his strengths and understands the space he’s getting into. He plays around with punchlines intended to rhyme, characters named Recovery Babji, Chilaka and Mr. Ego (a shortened name of E Govardhan Reddy), all in a story as old as the hills. It’s another matter altogether that the narrative’s obviousness and the lack of a surprise element, doesn’t help its cause.

One better aspect of Chuttalabbayi is the lack of pretension in its lowbrow humour. Aadi easily fits the part of Recovery Babji, not much different from his arrogant do-gooder, women and family saviour-acts in the past but for a profession change. It’s to the credit of his sidekicks and comedians including Shakalaka Shankar and Prudhvi Raj that the first hour comes close to being tolerable. It’s only later that the director gets greedy to pack in too many things, weaves in a rural joint-family thread, delaying the conflict point by a good 30 minutes. There’s cut throat dialogue spree that tires you with lines like Pakshiki goodu, magadiki thodu avasaram and Neekosam chain enti traine lagestanu. The melodrama later is only good to spring unintentional humour.

It’s a first for Aadi and Saikumar to play son and father on-screen but the result is far from flattering. The actors have little assistance from the script to add sparkle. Saikumar and Abhimanyu Singh’s (who plays the authoritarian brother of Namitha Pramod) characterisations are given larger-than-life introductory sketches; the director though is too distracted to build on them. Namitha Pramod (the female lead who plays Kavya, makes an assured Telugu debut) and Aadi make for a happy-go-lucky pair, despite their surface-level romantic track. The two are part of many action chases in the film, but the one where Aadi smashes a group to the ground sans noise creates some interest.

Many actors in the film otherwise have a perfunctory presence be it Vamsi Krishna, Chammak Chandra or Posani; there’s no performance that sticks to your mind after a viewing. A senior-hand like Annapurna too is made to mouth third-rate dialogues as she repeatedly keeps comparing every trait of her grandson to the grandfather (a frame that has the late P.J. Sarma in it). Ali’s Kidnap Krish act comes too late and doesn’t evoke laughter. Composer S. Thaman’s in reasonable form though, as he infuses some energy into the background score and select numbers. Lesser characters and a crisp run-time could have easily salvaged this.

Chuttalabbayi

Cast: Aadi, Saikumar, Namitha Pramod

Direction: Veerabhadram

Music: S Thaman

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 9:44:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/Chuttalabbayi-A-lost-opportunity/article14578655.ece

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