Reviews

Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki: Wait, what was that?

Avika Gor and Naga Shaurya  

In the last two weeks, two small films — Naa Bangaaru Talli and Ala Ela — came as a fresh breath of air. The first one was a hard-hitting story on victims of trafficking and the other, a mint-fresh romantic comedy. With this week’s small film, Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki, one expected a hat trick of sorts. About 30 minutes after a breezy start, the director makes us wonder what’s happening on screen. It’s a downward spiral since then.

The film opens with Sai (Naga Shaurya) and his pals brooding over a friend’s death. The friend was supposedly a victim of love. Sai and his pals take an oath that they wouldn’t pursue girls, send friend requests to young women on Facebook and so on. Even before the friend is cremated, Sai does a U-turn on spotting a sprightly Lakshmi (Avika Gor). Lakshmi is the daughter of a town planner (played by Rao Ramesh), who plans everything to the T. We are told he planned how his life should turn out and wrote it down — when he should have children, their names, which careers the boys should choose, when they should get married, and even what salary his daughter should draw from her first job. Now, the prospect of a happy-go-lucky Sai disrupting this disciplined family seems like a perfect foil for some comedy.

But the director seems to have thought of many small and large sequences that he felt would be amusing or would add new twists to the story. And he tries to incorporate them all in 151 minutes. The result — a muddle of a screenplay.

Initially, some of the funny lines make us feel there’s hope. That hope makes us overlook the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge hangover in the sequence between Naga Shaurya and Rao Ramesh at the liquor shop. A while later, the humour and the force-fit rhyming lines grate on our nerves. And there’s no let up in the rhyming dialogues till the very end. Sapthagiri and Thagobutu Ramesh try to induce some laughs, in vain.

The characters, too, never follow a sensible arc. After a point, one doesn’t care whether Lakshmi reciprocates to Sai or continues in the path chosen by her father. In the later portions, there’s no sign of Rao Ramesh for a long time. And he’s supposed to be this strict father who makes all his family members sign a register to record when, where and for what purpose they leave the house each day.

Then there’s the sub plot of Pavithra Lokesh whom Rao Ramesh loved in his younger days. The character gets some solace through Lakshmi and Sai and is then irrelevant to the story till the fag end. There’s also some cringe worthy gay humour thrown in.

Naga Shaurya puts up a brave front and tries to shoulder the film with all his effervescence. This is an actor who has a lot of promise and should choose films with better care. Avika Gor continues her child-woman act from Uyyala Jampala. She is good, but has to work towards shaking off the Balika Vadhu image.

Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki has feel-good music by Radha Krishna and pleasing cinematography by Bal Reddy. But none of this is enough to make us sit through the tiresome proceedings. At one point Naga Shaurya’s mother pronounces trouble as ‘terble’. We’d say ‘terrible’.

Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki

Cast: Naga Shaurya, Avika Gor and Rao Ramesh

Direction: Nandyala Ravi

Music: Radha Krishna

Bottom line: The convoluted screenplay will make you look towards the exit door

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 10:13:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/lakshmi-raave-maa-intiki-wait-what-was-that/article6665202.ece

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