Indian filmmakers are almost fixated on the theme of twins and look-alikes. It is a pet subject that has been flogged like a dead horse all over Indian film screens.
Ammayi Bagundi is a typical story of identity crisis over two similar looking persons. However, what saves the film from falling into the usual trap of fun and frolic over mistaken identities is a taut screenplay and some imaginative and serious handling by director Bala Sekharan --- making a comeback to Telugu screens after a gap of over three years.
The story begins with Siva (Sivaji), a modern-day youth with modern tastes. He is quite finicky when it comes to the girl that he will marry. As it happens, he falls with a sweet young thing but at the same time goes to see a girl as per his parents' wishes.
Luckily, or so it seems, the girl he sees is the same as the one he had fallen in love. He immediately gives his assent to the marriage, and sets out on the trail of the girl to checkout on her tastes.
And when he eventually ties the knot and moves to settle in true marital bliss, a tremendous twist waits for him --- the girl he had fallen in love moves near his house. So who was the one he had got married to? Well, it was her look-alike (mercifully, they are not twins).
The story and the die is fully cast.
Siva is confused and shattered and he begins to ignore his wife. The girl, whom he had fallen in love with, also begins to get close with him.
Torn between his marriage and the newfound love, Siva has to take a decision. The climax is explosive and builds up with the right tempo.
The film, though some times utterly predictable in some portions, is saved by some inspired acting by lead pair Sivaji and Meera Jasmine and some mellifluous music.
For Sivaji, this is a director-backed role. He has grabbed the chance with two hands and comes out with a neat portrayal. As the serious Siva, caught between the surging tides of emotion and marriage, he has etched out a good portrayal.
Meera Jasmine, the gamine-charmed actress, is also adequate. A dual role is something that is not easily available to an actress who is just on the learning curve. But having got the rare opportunity, she acquits herself smartly.
The success of the Tamil original (Parthiban Kanavu) was mainly through the natural chemistry between the lead pairs (Srikanth and Sneha). However, that is slightly missing in this remake.
The comedy team of Ali, Brahmanandam, Chitram Seenu provides the required fun.
Music was also a strong suite in Parthiban Kanavu. Luckily, Srilekha is in fine fettle for this film. She has belted out some memorable tunes.
For Balsekharan, who is just two films old (Preyamaina Neeku and Snehamante Idera), this should is an important film as it has the potential to decide which way his career is headed.
Though mostly in control, he has, at times, let the script flounder. In some places, he comes across as a person afflicted with the essential theme of the film --- identity crisis.
But overall, Ammayi Bagundi is a neat and decent entertainer.