Tollywood is not very well-known for Nicholas-Sparks-style romantic movies which are cheesy yet, pleasant. Somehow it has always been about big budgets, hot heroines and stars mandatorily asking for introduction scenes and Sumo-blowing fights. However with his directorial debut, Oohalu Gusagusalade, Srinivas Avasarala, already a well-established comic sidekick, proves that a movie can be entertaining and watchable without being larger-than-life, where simple settings like beach, park and old-style movie halls can build love stories beautifully, where the hero and heroine could enjoy a cycle ride instead of racing on fancy bikes.
Plot: Venky(Nag Shourya) is the boy next door who aspires to be a newsreader like his dad, now bedridden. His boss, Uday Bhaskar (Srinivas Avasarala) who owns UB TV, usually hesitant when it comes to talking to women falls for one of the matches, Prabhavati(Rashi Khanna). Considering Venky’s usual charms which work wonders with women, Uday demands for Venky’s help in impressing the girl. He lures Venky into helping him by offering the newsreaders’ post. There is a twist when Venky realises it is the same girl he had fallen for half a decade ago.
Venky and Prabhavati had met each other during a summer vacation when she was just 19. They become good friends and while Venky is in love with her, Prabhavati isn’t too keen about relationships at such a tender age, largely owing to the misunderstandings between her own parents.
Venky is partially hurt that Prabhavati, now a dentist, is looking for other matches. Even though she was willing to marry him, Venky bluntly denies having any interest in her anymore. Confused, she does indulge Uday for a while, not realising that all the wooing, words and wit which she likes in him are actually Venky’s ideas, dialogues and poetry, as he is helping his boss. How it ends for each of them makes for the rest of the movie.
Cast & Crew: In spite of being young and inexperienced, both Nag and Rashi(Madras Cafe) turn in fabulous performances. While Nag mixes the ebullience of youth, the pangs of love and the energy of a typical ambitious youngster into a pleasurable concoction, Rashi fits the part of that innocently cute girl any boy would want to woo, write love letters to and date. Srinivas, as usual, turns in another show of impeccable comic timing as the conniving-but-not-too-villainy boss with tongue-twisted shyness in front of women.
The cinematography is soothingly romantic, capturing the essence of Vizag in lovely shades, while painting the canvas of Venky’s long-lasting love for Prabhavati. The music by Kalyani Koduri accentuates the soft romance portrayed in the movie, with wonderful lilting melodies cossetting the audiences into humming them long after.
Themes: Varahi’s rom-com stands out for several reasons. A typical love story, the movie has a very interesting narrative, full of wit and nuanced charm. It is not loud, exaggerated or kitschy at any point. From the freshness and innocence of a teenage love, where the boy saves every single rupee to take the girl out on a date, to the manipulations that happen in arranged marriages, the storyteller’s lens manages to show you what is real as opposed to the confetti-laden settings of high-budget movies. The second half and climax are slightly slower and a little over-the-top, unlike the rest of the movie, but you wouldn’t really complain.
The witty dialogue reminds you of Trivikram’s style a lot. The one-liners and humorous exchanges are spontaneous and manage to send the audiences into splits. The sequence where Uday enacts with Venky singing from the background reminds one of Padosan, Kishore Kumar doing it for Sanjay Dutt. How Venky and Prabhavati meet first and the sequences thereafter, are equally creative with offbeat wit not commonly seen in this age of slapstick comedy. Who needs a separate comic plot, when most of the humour can so funnily be carried by a young hero and his twistedly funny boss.