In an industry where heroes are celebrated and portrayed as macho Greek Gods who can do no wrong, are super confident, and flex more muscles than express real emotions, Galipatam comes as a surprise package. Director Naveen Gandhi picks a theme that is a reflection of the lifestyles we lead today without being preachy and manages to keep his characters real. So there’s romance, there’s premarital sex, there’s live in relationships, extra-marital affairs and divorces without either the filmmaker or the characters being apologetic. Yet does this bold theme and Gandhi’s execution of it make the film a success remains the question.
The film is about Swathi (Erica Fernandes) and Karthi (Aadi), a happy-go-lucky married couple, who win best couple awards at work and make impromptu midnight plans to get out of town, get drunk and have fun. But they also have their share of squabbles and deep down realise that they are not happy in their marriage. During one such fight they admit to past affairs, how they got married for the sake of their parents and that they truly wanted to be with their old flames Aarav Reddy (Rahul Ravindran) and Pariniti (Kristina Akheeva). The couple decide to mutually separate and get back in touch with Aarav and Pariniti, both now settled abroad, who return at the drop of a hat for love.
Everything seems hunky-dory as the two couples reunite, plan their lives ahead and have a break-up party. The only hitch here is Swathi’s mother, a heart patient, and the shock of their divorce might just kill her. As the couple seek help from Swathi’s sister to go through with their divorce, they also struggle with their sense of responsibility towards their families and if they really want to separate at the cost of their parents’ happiness. Whether the couple do actually separate or get back together and live happily ever after forms the rest of the plot.
Both Aadi and Erica do a good job as the young professionals who know their minds and have no qualms about going after what they want, and Rahul and Kristina provide able support as the old flames.
While the basic premise of the film is good and quite different from what one normally gets to see in Telugu cinema, it is not devoid of its share of cheesy lines. Take for instance, Aadi saying, “Ammayilu RTC bus laga. Okati velute inkoti osthundi (girls are like buses. If one goes the next one will come).” Or Kristina inviting Aadi over with ice cream saying, “Paina venella, cheti lo vanilla pakkalo pilla.”
While Gandhi may not have qualms about portraying life as it is these days and the choices youngsters make, for some reason he ends up introducing a few preachy tracks in between. For instance, suddenly out of nowhere one sees a group of elderly women drinking and making merry saying things like ‘Dude’ and ‘Bro’ and the very next, lamenting and crying that they have been abandoned by their children who have migrated to the US and have left them helpless in their twilight years.
The basic premise of Galipatam is laudable and it takes guts to introduce something as bold. But a little more finesse, a tauter script and fewer random situations might have made it a truly enjoyable watch.
Cast: Aadi, Erica Fernandes, Rahul Ravindran, Kristina Akheeva
Director: Naveen Gandhi
Plot: Debating the logic of staying in an unhappy marriage
Bottomline: A brave attempt