Title: Vivaha Bhojanambu
To throw: Satya, Aarjavee, Srikanth Iyengar and others
Director: Ram abbaraju
“Vivaha Bhojanambu” is one of the first Telugu films set during the time of the pandemic. These are the first days of the coronavirus pandemic when penny pincher Mahesh (Satya) is due to attend a humble wedding, much to his delight. As fate willed it, an unexpected national lockdown puts him in a soup kitchen as he must house his in-laws and their many loved ones for days with a huge monetary burden. But the real problem is another: the stepfather (played by Srikanth Iyengar) is disgusted with Mahesh, who is not rich like him, who is not beautiful like his daughter (Aarjavee like Anitha), and who is not a businessman. Mahesh is an idiosyncratic LIC agent who salivates at the prospect of Covid-19 forcing people to take out life insurance policies so that they can earn a few thousand more.
Writer-director Ram Abbaraju comes with a special premise. Although Telugu audiences have seen some hilarious miseries (played by leading actors such as Rajendra Prasad and Kota Srinivas Rao) before, Satya manages to make the film look like a one-man show at least until the premiere. half. He is brilliant as a slightly naive and extremely stupid son-in-law who is lucky.
Little by little, the film gradually becomes generic. About forty minutes into the story, it’s no longer about the avarice of the male protagonist. The situations become nonspecific, the storyline loses its meaning, the wacky humor gives way to an uninspiring gag fest where Covid-19 jokes replace the substantial part of the story for a good chunk of screen time. The comedy loses its effervescence, and the very many characters are condemned to repeat the same expressions. The end of TNR is nice, but the absence of a funny young man in the bride’s camp is a glaring flaw.
If Satya’s modulations are pleasant, the others only tire you. Srikanth Iyengar, otherwise a watchable actor, is a note. The female lead becomes a footnote, so much so that you wonder if she’s a stranger hired to act as a wife. In an outdated climax that’s marred by a practical trope from another era, she looks so unmotivated that even a medical advisor would seem more invested and emotional in her client’s life.
The movie gets so repetitive that if you talk about a few jokes you’ll end up revealing the whole story. Either way, some of the jokes aren’t original (the assimilation of Narendra Modi giving tasks to the nation during the March-April 2020 lockdown to the Bigg Boss assigning tasks on the reality show, is only ‘an example). And where they work is only thanks to Satya’s impeccable timing.
The skin-deep comedy turns into a prank to Sundeep Kishan when the actor enters the screen as Nellore Prabha. For a film that lacks an emotional arc, ironically, it’s this guest character that has his own emotional (albeit ridiculous) arc. The comedy in the second half is decidedly unbearable.
There is a revelation about Mahesh around 30 minutes after the start of the second half. If that had been the interval point, the conflict plot point would have existed at least on paper.
The casting of Subbaraya Sharma, an actor who is well past his expiration date, reveals the film’s lack of interest in knowing what audiences want. Comedian Sudarshan and Shivannarayana, famous for ‘Amrutham’, prove their worth. The movie, in general, makes us pray that the confinement will end so that the annoying parents can leave Mahesh’s house and end the ordeal called “Vivaha Bhojanambu”.
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