Arjun Reddy Review
'Arjun Reddy', starring Vijay Devarakonda and Shalini, hits the screens. Here is our review.
Arjun Reddy (Vijay Devarakonda), a medico, falls in love with his junior, Preethi (debutante Shalini Pandey). It's a college campus love story until the boy has to leave the campus to pursue higher studies.
Distance relationship follows, punctuated with surprise visits and long kisses.
Years later, Arjun is ready to marry Preethi and tries to convince her father. He fails.
This is then that you come to know that Arjun's take-it-or-leave-it attitude is not just an inconsequential trait. His attitude is the story's raison d'etre.
Followed by Arjun's path of self-destruction.
Will Arjun ever be able to outlive his past? Or is he going to end up as Devdas Reddy, complete with a dog named Preethi? You have to watch it to know it.
First things first. 'Arjun Reddy' is the first film since 'Kshanam' that breaks several norms of Telugu cinema. Even 'Pelli Choopulu' can't be called a match when it comes to being so free-spirited.
If ever Telugu cinema needed its own 'Dev D' moment, it has to be this. Your first tryst with the film's riveting intensity comes when Arjun Reddy, mad with anger and mental agony, beats his girlfriend's molester, lights a cigarette for him, and extracts a promise that he won't ever touch her. Has Telugu cinema ever treated us to such a tight scene that is both disturbingly real and naturally impassioned?
It seems Preethi's love for Arjun starts from her scene #1. No dialogues needed. So much so, we don't see it as a leap of logic when she sleeps with him after an aesthetic kiss of love.
Certain elements come across as so organic to the proceedings that they don't even make you feel conscious about them. For example, the repeated sexual encounters (and lip locks) between the lead pair.
Most Telugu films which have tried bohemian lines like 'I love the way you breathe' (Arjun to Preethi) fell flat because they seemed quite affected. Not this movie.
When they have to get separated, it's an emotional, dramatic conversation between them. It ends with Arjun giving six hours' time to his girl, a scene topped by throbbing background music.
There comes a point in Arjun's life when you fear if his self-destruction is near total. Watch the bearded Vijay Devarakonda in these melancholic moments. He has to face the court for an offense he has committed. His brother (Kamal Kamaraju) and a lawyer have told him what to do. In the immediate next scene, he happens to see his face in the mirror. He puts a mild expression of self-loathing. Yes, Arjun Reddy, the topper whom the whole college saw a champion in, has started to see himself as a loser.
Vijay Devarakonda shows the pangs of separation with brilliant subtlety. At the same time, he oscillates between brooding behavior and light hearted humor in the second half with elan. Shalini comes across as that girl-next-door, but her dubbing is a let-down.
Lyricist Rahul Ramakrishna as Vijay's all-weather friend is that sidekick who tickles the funny bone with his repartees. His Telangana slang has a strong Priyadarshi hangover (read Pelli Choopulu's track).
Radhan's music and BGM, and Raju Thota's cinematography make the film visually rich at minimal budget. Beautiful frames all.
Breaking many rules, 'Arjun Reddy' is both slice-of-life and imaginatively cinematic. Vijay breaks new ground with his class act. You just can't give him a miss. Nonconformist scenes galore. Rahul Ramakrishna's excellent comic timing is a plus. Watch it.