'Romance' is a film where the romanticisation of casual fling (complete with obscene symbolism) and reification of love go hand in hand. The former is meant to cater to the gallery class (and there is a gallery audience in each of the audience) and the latter is meant to cater to the higher being in us that wants a semblance of a story.
In telling the story of a youngster (Prince as Krishna) who wants to marry a virgin (a breaking news for his companions), 'Romance' treats us to some expected dose of titillation, commodifies the 'aam ladki', sexualizes a whole bunch of female characters even while raising a toast to true love.
Taking a cue from Maruthi's style, the director delivers a B-grade candy floss film that works in bits and pieces mainly because of the element of suspense, the narration and the lowly thrill of watching another flash of prurience after every 5 minutes (almost).
Krishna is an engineering student and unlike the rest of the world, he romanticizes romance. His roomies sexualize romance and they belong to the normal world that the film is set in. Krishna reveals to his shell-shocked friends that he will have first touch, first kiss, and first hug with that special girl alone. He decides to test waters with two girls, one after one, and whoever passes his test will be his wife.
A girl who tells her date of birth correctly can be said to be 33% genuine, if she never sought the help of a guy on a rainy night she scores more and so on. The first one (played by Manasa) fails the test and Krishna dumps her, only to bump into a second girl (played by sultry-looking Dimple), who initially comes across as even more difficult.
The second girl poses a challenge to him at some point and in comes the first girl to make the matters worse.
The narration somehow cleverly manages to deceive us but the screenplay is a badly-cooked hotch-potch. One sees flashes of '3G Love' and 'Saradaga Ammayitho'. There is so much of tu-tu-main-main fight between the species of strong character (girls) and the species of loose morals (boys) that reminds one of '3G Love'. The hostel episodes are so utterly unimaginative that the film actually puts Varun Sandesh's last film to shame.
There is a terrible itch that our filmmakers are increasingly suffering from - the ridiculous urge to go for parodies (read the hostel girl's imitation of superstars and a few memorable lascivious numbers) and mimicry scenes that simply fall flat. There is an item song involving so many sex objects and the biggest sex object of them all - the hero - to add to our owes.
A good idea like Break-Up Day is spoilt by the writer's imposing desire to convince the Telugu audience that most girls are incredibly promiscuous enough to dump their boy friends by publicly denouncing the latter's failure to take advantage of the former's overtures.
The film is entirely a series of gags; it has got not much to hold the interest of the audience for 140-plus minutes. Thus, the director laces the dialogue with titillation.
Krishna's character required someone with the skill to enact in a nuanced manner. Prince woefully lacks this quality and he fails his otherwise meaty role. Dimple doesn't have the grace to be a female lead; all that she bottles up is oomph. Manasa is OK.
Few of the friends will excite the college-going audience and bore the rest of us.
In the hands of a sensible director, 'Romance' could have fared a little well and that is all.
The music is a let down; the songs are forgettable. Cinematography could have been better.
Verdict: 'Romance' comes with the flavor of 3G Love and Saradaga Ammayitho more than Ee Rojullo or Bus Stop. It is a second-rate film doling out nothing more than a dose of titillation.