London Babulu Review
'London Babulu', starring debutante Rakshit, Colours Swathi, Dhanraj and others, hits the screens this Friday. Here is our review.
Gandhi (debutante Rakshit) is mired in debts and is unemployed. As his brother-in-law (Raja Ravindra) compels him to repay his debt, failing which he will dump his sister, a desperate Gandhi seeks to travel to London on a fake passport so as to work there and make money.
He gets in touch with a broker (played by Jeeva) dealing in fake passports, who insists that he should apply for a Visa as a married man as that might just increase his chances. He randomly mentions Suryakantham as his wife in the application form.
Turns out that another important character in the movie is Suryakantham (Swathi), too, and she is a principled TV journalist. Destiny has it that Gandhi has to con Suryakantham into helping him get out of a sticky situation at the behest of an ex-Naxalite (played by Dhanraj) and a funny divorce lawyer (played by Ali).
The rest of the film is about how Gandhi's troubles come to an end, and everything ends well for him and Suryakantham.
Primarily a situational comedy, 'London Babulu' is the remake of the Tamil movie 'Aandavan Kattalai'. There is a trace of satire, a touch of irony, large doses of conventional humour, and, the film does abound with themes like how honesty alone pays ('Sathyam matrame aanandanni isthundi', the idealistic theatre veteran, played by Murali Sharma, says).
Here are the elements that have the potential to work with the average audience: the comedy track featuring Rakshit, Dhanraj, Ali and his lady sidekick; the courtroom moments that come with some neat humour; the regular comedy doses involving comedian Sathya; the mildly unconventional track involving the lead pair; the tense moments that come with the coming of Ajay Ghosh's character of an IB officer.
Not all the good features of 'LB' are obvious. Some are subtle. For example, its non-stereotypical heroine doesn't smile at all. The one time when she does it, a character makes it a point to make it known: 'First time navvindi!' For a comedian like Dhanraj, his emotional baggage is a treat to watch. The pain of the ex-Naxalite and his longing for his missing wife and son is heart-rending. In order to escape the wrath of the police, he fakes it as a dumb person, only to be touchingly told by Gandhi: 'Bathakadaniki nuvvu noru vadulukunnav, memu vooru vadulukunnam'.
The way Gandhi and Suryakantham end up having similar feelings in the courtroom when they watch scores of couples seek divorce is another example of a subtle play of emotions. There is no romantic duet; instead there is this song that goes like this: 'Thirigi thirigi modhatikocche.. Maaraledu jeevitham'.
In a film that has Murali Sharma playing the role of a lover of theatre (an "old-fashioned" character, one must say, but then this film has its heart in the right place), the way Suryakantham handles a really problematic situation like a strong-minded individual is remarkable and a feminist's delight. For once, we have a female lead who is not a weakling; she is not paranoid, she knows how to handle a sticky situation, so on and so forth.
Everything said, 'LB' has its limitations. It takes its sweet time to offer peculiar situations. The track involving Jeeva and the key characters falls flat. The climax is more in the mould of a short-filmish denouement.
For a debutante, Rakshit has done a commendable job. The unique characterization has worked for him. Montage songs have worked to his advantage, one feels. Swathi chooses a well-written role and does her part with aplomb. It's good to watch her in this movie after such nightmares like 'Tripura'. Ali and the 'punches' he receives from his sidekick are sure to elicit the maximum laughs. Dhanraj makes a mark, while Sathya is OK. Ajay Ghosh shines in an extended cameo.
Music by K is apt, while Sam K Naidu's cinematography is just about OK.
If you are looking for a good-hearted, feel-good entertainer, 'London Babulu' is your kind of movie. Enjoy the situational humour, but don't expect awesomeness.