A widely-acclaimed film like '3 Idiots' should be remade only if a director has something new to add. A regular film like 'Tanu Weds Manu' doesn't lend itself to be remade because many South Indian films had surpassed films of its kind in style and content. At a time even when mediocre films like 'Avunu' are sought after in Bollywood, it is a double tragedy that someone thought the Madhavan-starrer will make a good film. One Bollywood, with its share of inventive and insipid, and imaginative and idiosyncratic cinema, is enough.
If Mr. Pellikoduku is old wine in new bottle in the first half, being a breezy watch with good comedy (buffeted only by unsteady performances and a narcissistic Sunil all through), the second half tastes like hooch. The only relief is Isha Chawla, who has a knack for portraying her changing mindset as convincingly as the script (thanks to the original) gives a solid expression to her fleeting heart. As for Sunil, who has a palpitating heart, he tries hard to exude a seriousness through his body language he is not capable of. Clearly, a role which requires him to spout heavy-dose dialogues (for an actor like him) is not for him. Maybe, the brilliant comedian should stick to the kind of roles that bring out his talent in each scene (read Poola Rangadu, easily one of the year 2012's cool hits).
Devi Prasad pens witty dialogues at places, but the sentimentality is way too hackneyed and even looks artificial when the hero is at the centre of melodrama. As for the story, it is almost easy to predict what is going to happen, for we all know that when the story is about how, ultimately, the heroine's mind changes, the hero is a no-nonsense, high-minded, kind-hearted (in short, an epitome of selflessness) fellow while the groom is a person who is invariably egotic, abrasive, possessive, bad-tempered and violent. (In other such stories, the anti-hero comes with one or more of the traits in these two sets: A. Buffoonic, nonsensical, short-sighted. B. Philosophical, light-veined, emotionally intelligent, goal-oriented.
The film begins with Bujji Babu (Sunil) dreaming about his Miss Perfect Girl (his expressions in the song convey no romantic feel. Well, in song after song, his energies are squandered away in perfecting the technique, as though he is taking part in a dance competition). Once he sees Isha in a bride-seeing ceremony, he instantly falls for her. To his dismay, Isha reveals herself as a cigarette-smoking, brandy-guzzling lady in love in someone else. What follows is a series of bride-seeing ceremonies, in the company of Dharmavarapu, as his father, his mother and a sidekick, played by Ali. There comes a moment when he expresses to the brother of a girl his deep feelings for Isha with whom he is in love.
The twist unravels when Sunil meets that brother in a train, days after spending time with Isha and falling in love with her all over again.
As the film progresses, as Isha occupies the pride of place in the story, it is easy to see that Sunil is playing a second fiddle to a superior actress (with reference to only this film). So much for a film titled after the hero's character. In his body language and expressions, he does not come across as the well-to-do owner of a boutique in America. His comedy looks like an aberration and his Venkatesh-like melancholy is too much for him. He is reduced to a character who speaks morals to everyone in sight.
At least three areas deserve to be damned: The cinematography is second-grade; the background music is inappropriate; Sunil's modish costumes (barring in a few scenes and songs) are so unsuitable that they seem to have been tailor-made to insult him.
The songs seem to come too often (though the number of duets is as it should be) that one wonders if one is watching one-troupe dance show on television. The running song in the second half (for which the tempo is not built with care) is testimony to the director's lack of experience in making cinema in a touching way. The brief sad song should have come after Sunil says 'Tanu vellipoyindi' and not after the scene where Ali talks over the phone.
The last fight is utterly absurd, despite two well-built bodies, one doesn't even feel the punches.
The Sunil-Isha chemistry works fine, yet again. The duets are spoiled by heavy steps and bad cinematography. The actor who played the important role of Isha's lover is good-looking but he has no maturity in him to pull off a pivotal role. The marriage registrar's role should have gone to Venu Madhav.
The ensemble cast, including Ahuthi Prasad, Ali, Dharmavarapu, do their parts well.
Verdict: With a hackneyed story and inferior performance by the male lead, Mr. Pellikoduku is a remake that could have been avoided for obvious reasons.
Released on: 1st March, 2013