I was so worried for Satamaanam Bhavati. The film’s genre, the trailer…they set off warning bells in my head, reminding me of a disaster I scraped through in the May of 2016. Turns out, those were false alarms. Satamaanam Bhavati did not pull a Brahmotsavam, after all.
Satamaanam Bhavati treads a more or less familiar path. A village, a set of grandparents (read: Prakash Raj and Jayasudha), a good-natured, much-loved young dude who is the go-to person for everyone in the village, relatives flocking down from the distant lands, a family reunion at long last – it’s all there.
All the quintessential ingredients of a warm family entertainer are all there, but what makes this film work is this: Satamaanam Bhavati knows what it wants to be even before it gets there and all along the way, just like the audience do. There are no sudden surprises, nothing to shake you from the comfortable viewing you are having. But also, most importantly, the film does not digress.
It plays out in a self-assured way; it never goes off the track, never ventures into any unneccesary subplots. Although some actions/decisions of a few characters seem foolish and unwarranted initially, it all falls into place eventually, like it always does in our films. At one point in the first half, I went “What the hell! He’s doing this for what, that silly thing? Drastic decisions taken in haste!”. But don’t be too quick to judge. As I said, everything will fall into place, all actions and decisions justified.
The movie is over 130 minutes, I think, and feels the same. Never too sluggish, never too hurried. As a love story appears to blossom, another seems to fade. And yet another has its long awaited moment decades after it started and came to an abrupt end. Amidst all this, there’s some light-hearted humor, beautiful shots of lush green countryside, and ladles of nativity. And of course, at the very end, a scene involving all the family members, their confessions, confrontations and some promises. Again, very very familiar, this scene. Prakash Raj himself was in at least a hundred scenes like this. I’m not complaining here, just stating the obvious. It worked for me, by the way. I didn’t mind the drama. After all, I was expecting it. Textbook Telugu family movie.
Sharwanand is in his element while Prakash Raj and Jayasudha do justice to roles they’ve come to own. I wonder why we don’t see Naresh more often; that dude is really, really good. I really enjoyed the song Nilavade on screen. It’s like a small, sweet love letter of sorts to the 80s and 90s.
కంచంలో అన్నాన్ని చూస్తే కడుపు నిండదు, తింటే నిండుతుంది! – one of the dialogues I really liked in the movie. I’ll not obviously talk about who said this and to whom and why, but watch Satamaanam Bhavati to find out. We’ll discuss then, maybe?
I’m going with 3.5 out of 5!