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‘Arjuna Phalguna’: Let down by a weak story

Sree Vishnu’s performance is good, but the crime comedy has little else to keep viewers engaged

Director Teja Marni, who debuted with Telugu film Johar (2020), chooses a crime-comedy for his second outing. The opening scene explains the meaning of the title Arjuna Phalguna. No, Phalguna isn’t Arjuna’s surname. Through an anecdote that has a mythological significance, every time the protagonist is in trouble and needs strength and courage, he utters ‘Arjuna Phalguna’, then all is well. Arjuna Phalguna

  • Cast: Sree Vishnu, Amritha Iyer
  • Director: Teja Marni
  • Music: Priyadarshan Balasubramanian

A childhood episode becomes the prelude to establishing the character of Arjuna (Sree Vishnu), who is a good-hearted young man who helps his near and dear ones in distress but is considered a wastrel. Among his group of friends is a girl (Amritha Iyer) whom he’s romantically inclined towards. They are all a source of worry for their poor and ageing parents.

The group of friends take up a business of transporting ganja, expecting the commission to clear their monetary problems. The conflict arises when they finish their job and take their cut but realise that the bag actually has bundles of currency. They snatch the bag and run.

The second part of the story is about their travails and how they cross paths with a cop (Subbaraju) and escape, finally reaching their village. They hide the booty in a haystack and in a euphoric mood promise to do good to the villagers who are terrorised by loan sharks only to find that the haystack has got burnt and the cop is back. How does Arjuna come out of this mess?

The director attempts to create interest by showing the protagonist and his friends emerge from impossible situations through the sheer intelligence of Arjuna. This is a film about friendship but it seems as if the onus of upholding values is only on the hero. While running on the railway track with a sack of money, Arjuna falls and the friends, who are on a moving train, just give a teary-eyed expression, instead of trying to help.

What keeps the utterly predictable film going is the native slang that is brought out perfectly by the cast. Sree Vishnu, as usual, is very good at his dialogue delivery and expressions but is let down by a weak script. Subbaraju’s character is not strong; he is shown as a dimwit. So in the face of a weak antagonist, there isn’t much of a challenge or thrill.

With no chemistry between the lead pair, hardly any emotional heft, a comedy that falls flat and cinematography that doesn’t impress, the film is not engaging.

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