No man will want to doubt Mohan Indraganti's obsession with human relations after watching Anthaku Mundhu Aa Tharuvatha; he need not have flaunted his love for writer Chalam and the like some days ago. The film tells the story of a boy and a girl in love, how parents with a baggage of their own unconsciously create insecurities and anxieties in their unsuspecting wards, and its strength lies in the fact that good many heavy-dose scenes are dealt in a true-to-life manner. In the hands of some other director given to over-the-top depiction of emotions and conflicts, this film could have easily lapsed into exaggerated melodrama. Indraganti, true to his measured ways, keeps the drama gentle and appealing right from the word go, although there is an element of a simulated 'tu-tu-main-main' mediocrity 'aa taruvata'.
Anil (Sumanth Ashwin) is the 23-year-old son of Rao Ramesh and Rohini, and like a character straight out of some novel, he yearns for freedom and adventure (almost) from the first scene. The mofussil youngster from Kadiyam village, who regrets the fact that he failed to sweep even a single girl while pursuing MBA in Pune, wants to fall in love with a city girl. He travels to Hyderabad to attend a wedding and falls in love with Ananya (Esha) at first sight. Sensing an opportunity to lead the life he always wanted, he convinces his father to settle down in Hyderabad as a businessman. Ananya, again like a character straight out of some novel, romanticizes romance (like a rare girl) and wants to be loved and pampered every moment by a caring husband (like the regular girl).
For two different reasons, both involving their parents, they look at the prospect of having to live together after marriage somewhat intimidating. Proving once again that a lot can happen over coffee, Anil schemes a way out: a compatibility test, which turns out to be a euphemism for a live-in arrangement. Days later, they realize that their arrangement is only a trailer, the lives of their parents being the cinema. How they resolve the differences and how circumstances (or better say lucky coincidences) help them forms the gist of the pre climax and climax scenes.
The director succeeds in engaging the audience with a neatly-woven screenplay. The first half is a breezy watch, complete with its ability to keep us guessing even while entertaining us with a blossoming relationship. The blow hot blow cold relationship between Ananya's parents (played by Madhubala and Ravi Babu) and the sense of mystery conveyed by Rohini's mellowness (Anil's mother) form the subtext.
Sadly enough, the second half lapses into a simulated 'tu-tu-main-main' mode for bad. The miffs and huffs had to inevitably be there, but where Indraganti fails in his imagination is in preventing the sudden pugnacity of Anil and the tit-for-tat irksomeness of Ananya from seeming mundane and dull.
Where the director deserves unqualified praise is in convincingly telling the somewhat complicated point of two perplexed youngsters falling out of a lovely and innocent relationship under the vice-like grip of the mental corruption wrought by their well-meaning but hurt elders.
Characterizations are remarkable for their pithiness. Besides Anil and Ananya with whom most can relate to, Madhubala and Ravi Babu, between them, reflect a range of real-life characters, aided by good writing. If the agony that Madhubala undergoes because of her having to suppress her creative urges is a treat to watch, Ravi Babu's male chauvinism and hypocrisy bears testimony to Indraganti's commendable sense of writing/presentation. Even in a film avowedly meant to fight for the woman, you will not find a hard-hitting line like this one: If you were to pay me for the work that I have done as a wife and a mother, you would not be able to do that even after 10 janams.
Although the lead pair themselves don't match the talent of Madhubala, everyone does a decent job. Sumanth Ashwin's dialogue-delivery is confident; he emotes well. But Esha steals the show better with her unpretentious performance; her voice is a welcome change. Rao Ramesh is routine. Rohini deserves kudos for her excellent timing; you can sense her hurt and pain in the very first scene, such is her unique ability to emote. Avasarala Srinivas delivers an impactful output, and it only helps that Indraganti puts witty lines in his mouth.
Music-wise, AMAT is an ok film. More than the songs, the BGM is spot-on. Cinematography is apt.
Verdict: AMAT is a family entertainer holding an attraction for youngsters and their parents alike. Watch it not for a new story but a sensible treatment.