Our films have this knack for finishing any film on marriage, family system and every system under the sun with a moral lecture. Suddenly, characters at the receiving end of the moral rocket and which have been eating silly, sleeping silly and drinking silly, manage to bring out a well-worded repentance speech, possibly with a literary touch! For a change, and thank Gods for this change, a Telugu film delivers a non-didactic message that hits out at lives lived in denial and self-effacement.
‘Gaalipatam’ is the story of a married couple Karthik and Swathi (played by Adi and Erika) who have spent the most part of last year squabbling at the drop of a hat. Their frustrations don’t have a major reason other than the fact that HE can’t adjust with a wife who spends an unusual amount of time in front of mirror, and SHE can’t live with a husband who enthusiastically checks a new SMS in his mobile even if it’s midnight. On a frustrated day, HE talks about Praneetha (Kristina) and SHE talks about Arav Reddy (Rahul Ravichandran) and after the night of realization, they wake up to take a life-changing decision.
Speaking of the first half, the pace is quite racy and comes with an intelligent brevity. The screenplay is neat and the dialogues immediately connect to the youth. The young couple, who are the best for the rest of the world, do not bat an eyelid before letting out their frustrations with each other at the very beach side where they have just made merry, give us a feeling of watching a coming-of-age romantic drama. The flashback scenes are run-of-the-mill but Sampath Nandi’s lines sound new and add zing to otherwise ordinary scenes. A tee shirt clad husband celebrates by singing in himself a Pawan Kalyan song because she has just said what is on his mind: divorce. Will the happily-wanting-to-get-separated-disgusted-couple find their soul-mates in Praneetha and Arav Reddy?
One finds many reflections of the modern, urbane youngster’s mindset in the main characters. Just to make sure that -Karthik is not infatuated to Praneetha’s disruptive prescription, dialogues that value love (instead of the popular notion of ‘relationships’) are used to undercut any possible disenchantment with the youngster’s mindset. Dialogues like ‘Our parents could arrange marriage, but not love” are impressive. The characters of Bharat Reddy and Gayatri Bhargavi are used to an excellent effect to expose the hypocrisy of males and the broad-mindedness of women, besides glorifying the utility of the institution of marriage.
The second half is somewhat disappointing as the film seems to become obfuscatory. The people for whom the couple now want to get divorced are themselves relegated to the background as three-four episodes are prominently used to promote an antithetical position. A bunch of oldies (late Telangana Shakuntala is seen in this episode) letting out their frustration by boozing is unrealistic (and thus funny) but the emotions they convey in the scene are used to tell the young audience that going after one’s interest should not mean destitution of the old. Nag in ‘Santosham’ may have said that marriage needs two families, but here a character says that ‘Marriage needs just two individuals, but divorce needs two families’.
At one point, we have a parody involving a mischievous kid looking for self-employment, that too just a few scenes after a parody on the ‘Katama rayuda..’ number.
In the process of presenting the anti-thesis for most part of the second half, Praneetha and Arav Reddy are forgotten.
The comedy scenes fall flat involving Venu, Sapthagiri and others fall flat, but since they are not force-fitted they don’t seem undesirable. The songs are good and are neatly laced with the narration.
Adi delivers his career’s best performance. He doesn’t have to do difficult dance moves and fights and that’s a big relief. Erica is beautiful, but skinny and has no starry grace. Kristina looks is gorgeous and too trendy for a heroine's role. She fits the bill for this role. Rahul gets to play an extended cameo.
Good music and good cinematography make it a film that works fine even technically.
Verdict: A rom-com that is coming-of-age.