'Swagatam' is probably one of the much-hyped films of Jagapati Babu in a very long time. It has our hero and two heroines, Anushka and Bhoomika and good dosage of sentiment and the usual triangular love story. Only this time, it is set abroad - in the US, to be precise. After having been bombarded with Europe and Australia in most films, the US suddenly appears different and visually appealing. Probably because not many films have been set there in a long time.
The film happens to be the 75th film of Jagapati Babu. It is a huge budget film unlike most of his films in the recent past. He has co-produced the film and has decided to distribute it himself in the US. Naturally, the expectations have been very high. To be fair to Dasarath, he does not disappoint. In the sense that it is what one would typically go to watch in a Jagapati Babu movie.
Dasarath starts off in a novel way as far as a Telugu film is concerned. His story is set in the US, he has a heroine who is a part-time event manager and runs a boutique simultaneously. For a change, she is not all over our hero. Instead, she tries to keep her family together and clear her loans. Bogged down by family issues, Shailu (Anushka) has little time to look at the bright side of life. She is forever hassled and has a temper that frightens people.
In comes KK or Krishna (Jagapati Babu) into her little world. And with him, he brings cheer into her otherwise dull life. Suddenly, her problems are solved in a jiffy and she takes to the guardian angle in her life. Of course, he having a daughter Janu about the age of her nephew-son Chikoo, does not deter her from falling for him. But there has to be trouble in the la la land. So, in comes the twist in the tale in the form of KK's wife Vidya (Bhoomika). Like in most films with a triangular love story, one of the characters has chronic leukemia. Thankfully, Dasarath spares us and does not fall into the trap of using a rather lengthy scientific name.
As the clock ticks away, we are taken on a short trip into the past. This is another aspect of KK's life and it shows how love happens between KK and Vidya and how they get married. This is the part that Dasarath handles rather well and this part of the film is his completely. KK in the past happens to be a self obsessed, bossy and disciplinarian businessman who meets Vidya of Jalaja Rao Marriage Bureau. Instead of finding a match for him, Vidya match fixes KK and they end up marrying each other after a short courtship.
Now who has the terminal illness and who dies in the end and who gets who, makes up the rest of the film. Jagapati Babu, Anushka and Bhoomika carry off their roles nicely. Arjun as the misunderstood brother-in-law of Anushka is perfect as the NRI doctor and friend of KK. Sarat Babu, Rama Prabha, Dharmavarapu Subramanyam, MS Narayana, Ali, Sunil - all have small roles, but fit their parts well and provide the laughs.
Music by R P Patnaik is not extraordinary, but there is a remix version of Piya tu ab to aaja, which the young audience may like. For the rest of it, it suits the storyline, though it does not make any long-lasting impact. The scenes in the US have been well-shot and the beauty of the North American capital is shown in a colourful palette.
Dasarath takes an entire sequence from Michelle Pfeiffer-George Clooney film One Fine Day, is inspired heavily by Shah Rukh's Kal Ho Na Ho for the first part. We cannot blame him though, as they are the mushiest of the mushy films that you can get. Yet, he holds his bit, thanks to the second half.
However, we cannot say it is something that we haven't watched before. Actually, Dasarath puts together many borrowed pieces to complete his puzzle. It comes with all the trimmings and the sweet and bitter taste of a rich, gooey chocolate cake.