'Lovers' proves, for the nth time, that a vacuous interval bang is suggestive of a wafer-thin story line. It's nothing less than a jolt that a story-screenplay written by Maruthi has got a puerile interval bang that borders on the ridiculous. One can be sure that Maruthi is going to come up with so many stories (or non-stories, if you are a sceptic) with some quirky girl as the protagonist. Is it even remotely sensible to have Sumanth Ashwin, someone who looks very soft core to the core, hold a sword in his hand for no bloody good reason?
When it is Maruthi, the boy has to be in a soup (real or imagined) because of some calculated girl. The writer for a change shuns the calculated girl in favour of a quirky one, who is anti-male, or anti-flirts. Sriram (Sumanth Ashwin) approaches a church Father (played by MS Narayana) for advice. He narrates his tryst with Chitra Subramaniam (Nanditha). But the trouble is that Sriram's trouble is not a trouble at all. All his juvenile experiences with her are not worth all the headache Sriram admittedly has because of her. But by the time we realize this weakness in the story, half of the thing is over.
The second half has this now sweet girl sidelined in favour of a mad boy who is brought in because someone wanted to make a mini-Brahmanandam out of Sapthagiril. Beginning with a reference to the comedy track of 'Prema Katha Chitram', Sapthagiri tries to deliver the proceedings in at least three big scenes, but it doesn't take much time for us to realize that all that 'Lovers' has got is nothing but 'juveniles' and 'comedians'.
When a comically frustrated boy casually vows to kill a bad luck-bringing girl in Intermediate, it doesn't mean that he will seriously do that when an opportunity arises years later, that too after he has realized that true love is different from infatuation. Given that the interval bang's conflict point is happily dumped within the first 3 minutes of the second half, you can be sure that the bang is not meant to be taken seriously. Ok done! But is there any hope at least in the second half? The evolution in Nanditha's character comes all of a sudden as it should, but what later? She comes to know the truth and starts believing that she has a trouble while she has none.
Are they lovers or losers?
Coming to the dialogues, it's a big disappointment to even those who expect the most indecent ones from him. The reason is that even the most decent lines pale in comparison to the intelligent double meaning dialogues that the legend has produced in his previous films. There is that stammering comedian from 'Bust Stop' who stammers here only when his sweetheart is around. Expect a few voice cuts. Icecream fame Tejaswi Madivada and Shamili have cameos.
In the absence of any excitement and twists, there is not much going for the film. It starts off like a promise with JB's romantic numbers interluding the first 20 minutes. But after that, we realize that it is more pretence (or not even that) than substance.
Sumanth Ashwin doesn't show any new side of his acting talent. All that can be said is that he is convincing in a role that doesn't make him dance strenuously, emote arduously and fight audaciously. He just needs to make some pappu/plain vanilla expressions and he does that well. Nanditha is not a treat to watch as she is not depicted well by the cinematographer. Others shine in their limited roles. Sapthagiri evokes laughter in two scenes.
Technically, the film passes muster. JB is Maruthi's Man Friday and his inspired songs and BG score are not entertaining.
Verdict: A paper-thin story of two losers.