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Genre: Family Drama/Comedy
Rating: 3/5

Like his on-screen contemporaries he didn’t mince words while painting a self-portrait with a City nunchi vachhadu soft gaa lover boy la kanipistunnadu anukuntunnaru emo; Character kottaga vundi ani try chesa, Lopala orginal alage vundi, danini bayatiki teste rachha raachhey’. This was NTR Junior’s way of hinting what to expect, not just from his role, also the movie as a whole. ‘Brindaavanam’ is where Lord Krishna spent his childhood in happiness, according to Indian Hindu mythology. Ideal is not ideal until its achieved; when happiness is ‘realized’, when problems are overcome, when failure turns to success. Nothing experimental, the subject deals with a rich boy NTR Junior, at the behest of his girlfriend Samantha’s request, poses as Kajal’s boyfriend to make her dysfunctional family (based in Rayalaseema) believe she’s not interested in any other proposal. Rest of the movie is about NTR bringing the family together. Much about family values and relationships, some philosophy, mainly about building a happy world; that’s where Brundavanam begins and that’s where it ends. 

Celebrated widely as a mass-hero, NTR Junior has deliberately attempted an image makeover, and a softer Krish is largely in tune with the opening quote. For the most part, he plays an obedient youth lecturing elders on importance of earning a worthy livelihood, building the safety-net of a well-knit family and keeping up one’s spirit. Notably, his body language is not ruffian and has a classy feel - hands constantly in his trouser pockets, etc. Choreography overall is just about average and does not do enough justice to his talents. Kajal Agarwal as Bhanu plays a timid and a slightly asocial character. She has exceptionally imbibed and portrayed the characteristics of a traditional Teluginti aada-paduchu. Perpetually low voice tone, attending to elders cautiously, langa-vonis, minimal makeup (but professionally manicured fingernails forever o_O), etc are worth noticing. Samantha is more of a glamour element, adds enough oomph in considerably less screentime, compared to Kajal. Holistically speaking, her role is not meaty enough for her talents. The two ladies have brought to the table all they could but they are not memorable performances; the unique requirement of the story (like most Tollywood movies, to highlight the male character) puts them where I did.

Srihari and Prakash Raj play head-of-the-family type characters, also heading two nearby villages, where residents fight their rivals (denizens of the other village, duh!), because it’s their bounden duty to support and fight a familial issue between two airheads who share the same father (Kota Srinivas Rao) but different mothers. Srihari and Prakash Raj have lived these characters earlier, and mix terrorizing facial expressions, emotional euphoria, voice modulations, eye contact, almost in comparable measures with each other to push forward their roles. For the star comedian Brahmanandam, I will suffice it to say he gets his due for being an actor who receives applause, smiles and laughter even before he could say a word and he delivers well, although the characterization is not very memorable.

If you expected this Rayalaseema setting to have Tata Sumos being blowed up, villagers ready to be up in arms against ‘rivals’ at the drop of a hat, and many action scenes, you are right. The mass element checked, there’s enough stress on family ties, etc. Not very tear-jerking, Director Vamsi Paidipally has hadnled the subject and emotions maturely. Kudos to him for navigating through a known story, yet through a combination of actors not tried before, with a challenge of trying something new with NTR Jr., and not just shaving off his moustache. The flow in the story is logical for the most part and for the larger-than-life experience Telugu cinema promises; there are no gotcha moments really. Screenplay, also by Vamsi is gripping; he provides the right hooks at the right times to let the story start swinging in a different direction through introduction of new characters, unexpected dialogues, changing the emotional tone, visuals, violent outbursts, you name it.  Cinematography by Chota K Naidu blends excellently into this village drama. The specially erected ‘home’ set, with blue walls [!] passes off too, thanks to Chota’s art. Music by Thaman does not exactly break through the glass ceiling. For the most past it suits a mass taste; except a song or two (Eyi Raja, Mojjarey notable).

Why 3/5:
The good: Story’s universal appeal highlighting cultural values. Good performances. Good Screenplay and Direction by an amateur. The bad: No big surprises, age-old storyline and treatment, many what-the-fish moments for the 21st century, impractical ending.

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