C/o Kancharapalem review: Cute, realistic story about love
C/o Kancharapalem talks about religion, caste and god. A simple movie layered with subplots with dash of humor
Friday 7 September 2018
Subba Rao, Radha Bessy, Kesava Karri, Nithya Sri Goru, Karthik Ratnam, Praveena Parachuri, Mohan Bhagat, Praneetha Patnaik
“Prati L****kodukki naa pelli gurinche kavale…(every other bast***d here wants to know when would I get married), ” sulks 50-year-old unmarried man Raju in one scene. In another occasion, Raju also laments: “Gud**a kinda 50 yellu vacchayi evadu istadu pillani naku” (who would give a girl to 50-year-old man). Such unrestrained and colloquial conversation in a Telugu film is never seen or heard. This is how people speak in real life in villages.
Venkatesh Maha in his feature debut C/o Kancharapalem brings this ‘authenticity’ to the screen with characters that speak with no filters. Their dialogues, their looks, their lives are all straight out of from real life. As the title says, the film is set in Kancharapalem area in Visakhapatnam city and it is about the story of Raju (played by newcomer Subbarao) and the people around him.
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Raju is an office attendant working in a government office. He is 50 but unmarried. Why did he not get married? He answers: just like it happened, obviously hiding some painful past. We get to see his present life as he leads a happy life with ‘no sugar (diabetes), no health issue’ and does yoga everyday. His routine lifestyle also includes drinking with his friends at an adda singing parodies to old Hindi hits (there is a hilarious parody to ‘gori tera gaon bada pyara’) or local folk songs. His routine life turns complicated when an officer gets transferred from another office. The woman officer after getting to see his goodness and kind-heart proposes to marry him. She’s a widow and hails from Orissa, and has a teenage daughter.
Parallel to his story, the film runs with three other subplots: Story of two school kids Sundaram and Sunitha, a love story between Geddam and Saleema, a wine shop worker and a prostitute, a story of Joseph and Barghavi, a Brahmin girl. The story of Sundaram and Sunitha is a template first crush but this one also has the angle of belief in god. The love story of prostitute is heart-wrenching. In the story of Joseph, who is a “converted” Christian and Bhargavi, religion creates obstacles for them - Again a template story that we have seen umpteen times. But these subplots each make a commentary on evils of the society and also affects the main story.
The film finally comes back to the main story of Raju and it throws some funny comedy scenes like all the local people deciding to boycott him as they suspect him of being a “Nattugadu” (gay) and Radha’s daughter challenges him to run away with her mother. As it goes on in a humorous way, it also presents a final twist.
Although the director is not in a hurry to reveal what the movie is about, he tries to generate humor wherever possible and also holds interest with simple and effective scenes. Thus the film never provides a dull moment.
However, it is a simple good film with its own share of some issues. For example: in the subplots we can relate to the environment (village-like) but in Raju’s story, the village atmosphere doesn’t make any sense as it is set in today’s Vizag (Kancharapalem is not a village, but an area in the city). Scenes like local people doing chatimpu (announcement by beat of a bell) to talk about this 50-year-old unmarried looks odd. And withholding the name of ‘Geddam’ (the wine-shop worker) is just plot convenience, rather than natural occurrence. Also the film takes plenty of time to get to the point in the beginning.
As per the performances, the film boasts best and natural performances from all actors. Subba Rao as Raju is terrific. He is Raju, that’s it, so real. Radha Bessy as Radha and Praveen who appears as Saleema are so believable. Mohan Bhagavat as Geddam is also good.
The film is shot in sync sound; this is also reason why the dialogue sounds so natural. Camerawork is brilliant, the two cameramen with their digital cameras have brought realistic feel. Music is perfect. Editing is also terrific in blending all the stories seamlessly.
New director Venkatesh Maha captures all the emotions so well and has handled some sequences brilliantly. His subtle touches about the gender (a character asks when a woman will get the chance to choose who is right person for her?), religious biases, and atheism should be noticed. His dialogue writing is quite natural too.
C/o Kancharapalem is cute and a realistic story about love. The film also talks about religion, caste and god. Simple movie layered with subplots with dash of humor, it is engaging and makes for a good watch.
C/o Kancharapalem review: 3.25 stars