A national award winning director (which he won for his directional debut Grahanam, an excellent piece of cinema and a must-watch) can do better than this. This is a director who also gave us the sweet and lovable and incredibly funny Ashta Chamma. He also surprised us by taking a detour from his usual lighthearted feel-good entertainers when he made Gentleman with the thriller tint. Although I did see glimpses of that brilliance in a good number of scenes in Ami Thumi, this is by far the least thought-out movie from Indraganti Mohanakrishna.
I say “least thought-out” because, unlike his earlier films which banked on characters’ reactions to situations to extract comedy, Indraganti chooses the easier way here – making a fun of his character(s). The film may not have Brahmanandam taking a dozen slaps on his right cheek and a dozen more on his left. It might not have Ali dressed up as a woman doing his usual Ali The Woman thing. That’s slapstick comedy for you. But is this not? How is this comedy any different from that? Only this is disguised better, with the help of mostly good dialogue thanks to the director’s knowledge of and love for the language.
The film lost me when it continued to exploit the maid Kumari’s looks and voice and age for comic benefit. They could always claim Kumari (played by Syamala Devi) was given a meaty supporting role (that it is in fact NOT a supporting role but really one of the leads is a different thing altogether) but there’s no going back on the fact that this character was repeatedly made use of (a tool, if I may use the word) to evoke laughter thanks to her unconventional looks, almost-male voice, and age. In TFI, this isn’t a new thing, making fun of an overweight lady or a bald man, but who could have thought this would happen in an Indraganti film?
And that’s not the end of it. There is also a scene between Vennala Kishore, Adivi Sesh and Ananth where Ananth thinks the other two are a gay couple. Several RSS-approved derogatory comments and dialogues later, the confusion clears but the damage is done. Make fun of gay people instead of standing up for them? Check.
Enough with the nitpicking. The film is a little over two hours along, feels like two and half thanks to the slack portions in the first half. The second is marginally better with Vennala Kishore doing the most work. But for a few scenes, Avasarala is wasted. Aditi Myakal is SUPPOSED to be one of the leads but Kumari the maid steals her thunder and becomes the ACTUAL lead instead. Too bad Aditi Myakal has to settle for an extended cameo at best. She’s not bad but there’s a long way to go. Adivi Sesh is okay and delivers within the scope of his characters. Tanikella Bharani is flawless and Eesha puts up a good show save for her minor struggle with the Telangana accent in the portions of the film. Madhumani is wasted. Music by Manisharma is forgettable. There’s a party song at the end JUST for the sake of it. Because, how cool is a film really without a party song?
I’ve seen better from Indraganti. The film passes with average marks but Indraganti disappoints big time. I’m going with 2.5 out of 5!
PS: All the images are Youtube screen-grabs from the movie’s trailer.