‘Srinivasa Kalyanam’ is a sermon about wedding rituals, and some more
Satish Vegesna’s previous directorial Shatamanam Bhavati had an emotional core that one could connect with — aged parents eagerly looking forward to their children visiting them periodically. Despite the somewhat indulgent romanticising of a ‘palletooru’ or slotting the younger generation and NRIs into a certain ‘type’, there were enjoyable segments. Prakash Raj and Jayasudha as the elderly couple put in commendable performances that moved viewers.
The director’s newest outing, though seemingly similar, feels more like a 140-minute wedding video with a lot of sermonising. Again, no opportunity is wasted in glorifying the village life. According to this film, there are two kinds of families. One that lives in a village where every bond is cherished and everyone partakes in rituals associated with festivals and weddings. Jayasudha plays the grand old lady of this family with so much conviction. At the other end is RK (Prakash Raj) and his unhappy family. For RK, every minute is an opportunity to work towards strengthening his business empire.
- Cast: Nithiin, Rashi Khanna, Jayasudha and Prakash Raj
- Direction: Satish Vegesna
- Music: Mickey J Meyer
What happens when the younger ones from both these families come together? Early on in the film, Jayasudha tells her grandson (and us, the viewers) the sanctity of a marriage and the significance of a kalyana mandapam. The grandson, Srinivas (Nithiin), looks at the world from his nanamma’s point of view and grows up to be a know-it-all guy for whom family is utmost priority. While working in the design capital Chandigarh, he meets Sridevi (Rashi Khanna). Her time alone in a new city is her father’s (Prakash Raj) way of letting her explore the world before she joins the family business. Never mind if she’s already lived on her own, studying business management in London. Soon, Srinivas and Sridevi fall in love; she’s drawn to him by his friendly demeanour and above all, family values. Trouble begins when the two polar opposite families meet. The contrast is portrayed jarringly. From then on, the film gets judgemental without opting for a practical middle-ground. Destination weddings, event managers and Whatsapp invites get a rap on the knuckles and are contrasted with villagers who come forward to do all the chores for Jayasudha’s family.
To make the stereotyping worse, RK has an unhappy wife (Sithara) who has learnt to make peace with her husband. And their older daughter who is as business-minded as her dad, is staring at a divorce!
In the debate between modern and village life, convenience and customs, romance takes a backseat. After a point you wonder what is it that Srinivas and Sridevi like in each other. Their presence and journey together seems immaterial. Nithiin tries his best to infuse life into the unidimensional role that doesn’t give him scope to shine. Rashi begins with a spark and then looks lost. It’s a pity, considering how she sparkled in Tholiprema early this year. Several actors, including Rajendra Prasad, Sithara, Aamani and Naresh are wasted. Talking of stereotypes, the sprightly Vidyu Raman is cast as a chubby friend who only has food on her mind. Nandita Swetha gets a little bandwidth as the maradhalu but after a point, she too is a part of the crowd.
Some songs leave you with a deja vu while with the others, Mickey J Meyer tries to make the film a little more enjoyable.
The rustle of silks and unending ceremonies don’t make a family film; it has to have a structure and well-written characters. How many of us would watch a long wedding video with a preachy tone?
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