‘Love Story’ hit the cinemas today (September 24). Let’s find out what works and what doesn’t in the movie.
Revanth (Naga Chaitanya), the son of a single mother (Easwari Rao), comes from a lower-caste, lower-middle-class background. Just as he sets up a Zumba instructor in Hyderabad, he falls in love with Mounica (Sai Pallavi), a job-seeker who is a brilliant dancer. He beseeches her to join him as a partner. Their fate changes for good. But there is a catch. Mounica may have to part ways with Revanth after they fall in love owing to caste issues. The rest of the film is about what Revanth and Mounica do to stay together.
This has to be the one film in which Naga Chaitanya doesn’t put on a smirk anywhere and seems to enjoy playing his character from start to end. His Telangana slang is okayish, while his demeanour is warm. Sai Pallavi aces the role of a young girl with aspirations of her own. She is eminently watchable in the portions where she shows the vulnerabilities of a typical middle-class girl of her age.
Easwari Rao is absolutely convincing as Revanth’s mother whose thinking is relatable. Rajeev Kanakala and Devayani are no revelation, with the former being very routine. None of the side characters make any mark. Uttej and Gangavva are good, with the latter playing a cameo. Anand Chakrapani is seen as Mounica’s father.
Debutant Pawan Ch’s music is in step with the semi-raw, semi-polished flavour of the film. ‘Nee Chitram Choosi’, rendered by Anurag Kulkarni, is a winner. While ‘Saranga Dariya’ is not an original tune, the picturization is awesome. ‘Ay Ay Pilla’ and ‘Winner Winner Bro’ look good on the big screen.
Vijay C Kumar’s cinematography is splendid. It captures the small-town life vividly, especially because the film was shot in real locations and not in a studio. Marthand K Venkatesh’s editing is apt.
Of late, love stories where caste differences are a major element have become too predictable. ‘Love Story’, too, to an extent, is predictable. But it’s different in the way it throws gender issues into the mix. The film becomes layered because of it.
Before the film acquires social density, it indulges its love story in a leisurely manner. We see Revanth and Mounica having conversations about their careers, their business, their future, and their love. Till the interval, caste as an issue remains in Revanth’s conversations with his mother. Mounica’s struggles in the city, away from the gaze of her elders, is relatable. We see her throwing a party and enjoying the thrill of giving a treat for the first time. Gangavva’s brief character is humorous.
Once Rajeev Kanakala’s character acquires prominence, the film becomes serious. There is an undercurrent of tension throughout. At the same time, once the film shifts to the village, a few stock situations are tedious.
Revanth’s reference to his humble beginnings (“Zero kelli vachinam”) is touching. He thinks he can’t go below zero but there comes a point when he wonders if he is going to enter the sub-zero zone in life.
The film touches upon everyday casteism as much as everyday abuse. The proceedings are slow-burn and may sort of test your patience at times.
‘Love Story’ is directed not only at youngsters but also elders. It’s a lengthy film which is not without flaws. But it’s a good film, overall.