Reviews

Surya vs Surya: A little more warmth

Nikhil and Tridha

Nikhil and Tridha

Stories woven around a protagonist who has some kind of disability/ genetic disorder/ disease can lend themselves to an engaging film. The storytelling can either be overtly dramatic or surprisingly practical without letting the disability become a deterrent. Think Black, Barfi, Paa or Shamitabh .

Surya (Nikhil) has a rare genetic disorder that prevents him from stepping out into the sun. The sun rays are fatal to him and he grows up embracing the nocturnal world. His day begins around 6.30 p.m. and ends before sunrise the following morning. On rare occasions, he can step out during monsoons when the sky is overcast.

Nikhil Siddhartha has picked up Surya vs Surya after two offbeat thrillers, Swamy Ra Ra and Karthikeya , both small films that stood out of the crowd and went on to become hits. Naturally, one goes to watch this film that rides on an unconventional idea expecting another memorable outing. A few minutes into the film and it’s clear that the makers tried to strike a balance between experimentation and the frills required for mainstream cinema.

Surya is born in a wealthy family and logically speaking, could have had home tuitions as a child and later pursued higher studies through distance education. In a flashback scene, we see the boy asking his mom (Madhoo) why he can’t go to school like others in his age. Instead of inducing confidence that he can learn even if he can’t go to a regular day school, she tells him that others seek education and pursue a career to earn and he needn’t worry since they have no dearth of resources. Now, this is a single mother who comes to terms with her son’s condition after her husband’s death, has raised him all alone and is at the helm of a business venture. One would have expected her to articulate a more convincing line of thought.

As a youngster, Surya attends a night college, frequented by an assorted group of people from an autowallah, kirana store owner, a local politician, a guy who supplies arms to film units and so on. The autorickshaw driver and kirana store owner (Tanikella Bharani) become his friends and they hang out all night and indulge in ice golas, beer, biryani, you name it.

The conflict comes in when Surya falls in love with Sanjana (Tridha), a television anchor who is the face of a late night show but longs to get a break in a day time show. Night life is not her cup of tea. The interesting part of this film is this conflict and there’s a tinge of hope that it will move away from force-fit comic sequences and explore the clash. The hope is short lived as the film plods on to a lame, boring finish. Madhoo suffers with an ill-etched character and dubbing that doesn’t do her justice. Tridha has good screen presence. Nikhil appears ill at ease, offers a few repetitive expressions and one doesn’t get to empathise with his condition.

The scene where Tanikella Bharani and co. troll Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham is a riot. Wish the film had more such sparkling moments and a far more engaging screenplay. Telugu cinema rarely explores unconventional storylines and when one of it ends up falling short, it’s a lost opportunity.

Surya vs Surya

Cast: Nikhil Siddhartha, Tridha Chowdhary, Madhoo and Tanikella Bharani

Direction: Karthik Gattamaneni

Music: Satya Mahaveer

Story line: What happens when a protagonist who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that doesn’t let him step into daylight, falls in love?

Bottom line: A good premise and a film that could have been so much better.


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Printable version | May 17, 2022 7:57:42 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/surya-vs-surya-film-review-a-little-more-warmth/article6962702.ece