The film, as everyone would know, was originally named Clean Bowled. But the sudden and untimely demise of the director Konda brought about a change in the title. It is with a touch of sadness and poignancy that one goes to see this film. For, death is something that trivialize. But after over two hours of watching the film, the sadness gives way to a sense of fun and frolic. The movie at core is a celebration --- of life, of youth and of all the good things that go with it.
The movie takes you on an exhilarating trip of joy that youth days offer. It is hilarity and comedy that comes from the script called life. It is a joy that is clean and absolutely harmless. Konda surely must have died not because of the tension of making a film. The film, far from it, makes you feel light and lark some. It simply holds a mirror to the lives that we have gone through in our younger days.
In making success of the film, Konda has shown that it is script that decides the fate of the film. By his simple but impressive treatment,Konda has made Kokila work big time.
In fact, it is slightly churlish to talk about such a film in terms of story and characters. That would be spoiling the fun. The broad storyline is simple: It is about three lively youths of diverse mental make-up and also three equally diverse girls. It is a three-cornered fight. If you see in this light, it may seem tame. But Kokila's strength is its easy humor and earthy flavour. At no point, you feel stressed and strained.
Raja, as the first among the three, is utterly convincing and believable in a role that is almost second nature to him by now. From Anand to Vennela to now Kokila, Raja is indeed making rapid strides and showing that he is the hottest packet on the circuit. Raja's strength is his simple histrionics. Siva Balaji is an able foil. Ditto is Rajiv Kanakala. The three bring the house down with their camaraderie-filled competition. Terms like male-bonding and metro sexual that we hear so often these days, fit the bill perfectly. Saloni, as the lady interest, is first rate. The hesitant girl that we saw in films like Dhana 51 has been replaced by a more mature and confident performer. She shows a very fine understanding of what is required of her and comes up with the goods. Veda (Archana)is also a revelation. It is a pity that such a talented girl is not getting an extended run in Telugu films. Suhasini's is another interesting role that deserves mention. Veteran Kota also chips with a matured performance.
M S Madhukar's music is a treat for ears that are being perforated by rhythm blast in the form of mass numbers.Madhukar mixes it up all and comes up with a wholesome package. Ramesh Krishna's camera work is decidedly of top quality. The camera moves around unobtrusively. The action sequences (Ram-Lakshman) too are gritty and acceptable.
Konda, the director, has shown that to make a good film all you need is some basic understanding of life and the experiences thereof. Only the truly insightful could have come up with those realistic exchanges between the youths that we see in the film. It is a pity that such a talented director is no longer with us. But he has given us a nice product which is as good memory as he could have ever hoped to leave behind.
Kokila --- the fun of life.