Nenu Sailaja : Simplicity Repackaged !

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Okay, there is particular template for certain Telugu movies –

He meets her. Love blossoms. Ouch… there is a family issue. He comes as savior. He goes to her home, resolves the conflicts, unites the broken bonds and annihilates bad people, if any. She is all over him again!

Template is chart-buster. You have Rom-Com nicely blended with family cinema. Sprinkle some action and you might get a triple sundae.. yummie, isn’t it?

Proof :  Attarintiki Daredi (Pawan Kalyan – Samantha)

Proof : AA… aa (Nitin – Samantha)

Recipe is time-tasted yet effective. Results are always guaranteed. ‘Nainu Sailaja’ is new entrant to this menucard. Audience is served a predictable sweet tale with different topping. But it’s to credit of director Kishore Tirumala to present it in delightful & interesting manner. Inspite of having straight cut story what sets Nenu Sailaja apart is the unfolding. Devoid of any melodrama, high octane action sequences or overt display of romance, NS narrates us how “he” wins “her” ultimate love.

Meet Hari (Ram) – a young, brazing person with sharp & witty brain. He has faint memory of childhood and particularly of a small girl in neighborhood. In his current state, though, he is without any companion. Accidently bumping into Sailaja (Keerthy Suresh), now a media professional, he falls for her. After few chance encounters both start liking each other. There comes the twist. Sailaja is that old childhood friend. And she has some hidden past that includes strenuous relations with her father (Baahubali fame Sathyaki). What Hari does to iron out all problems and emerges victorious, makes rest of the film.

Strengths:

(1) Keep it simple

As said earlier, Nenu Sailaja maintains the fundamentals right. Kishore, who is the script-writer as well, seems to be well aware of the non-fancy plot. He slowly yet delicately unleashes finer aspect of NS with lots of discrete and tiny nicer moments. Characters are well placed, just with right amount of screen presence. They stick to basics. Even the villains are not archetypically cruel. Somehow NS is successful in having gross underplay to the moving cinema-line.

(2) Ram’s efficiency

Tagged as action hero, Ram surprises us with toned down performance in Nenu Sailaja. Not having any smashing boxoffice hit in recent years would have caused this change. But Hari played by Ram is subdued, gentle, thinker & tender person. He gives full justice to the role and drives point home.

(3) Keerthy Suresh delivers fine

Debuting in Telugu cinema, this is perhaps the safest and convenient turf for Keerthy. Tamil audience is already aware of her acting skills; here portraying introvert & composed girl Sailaja, she has given benchmark performance. Emotions are kept in check and there is hardly any capital boldness in depiction. Keerthy has provided soothing and beautiful demeanor to overall movie. She will definitely be my next bet to watch for.

Weaknesses :

(1) No big detours

In a way it helps to keep storyline on track but Nenu Sailaja lacks edge of seat happenings. It’s absence of sub-plots and twists may appear lukewarm to typical mass spectators.

(2) Average Music

People were telling me that NS music is contemporary hit. When I heard the songs, it was bit disappointing. Devi Sri Prasad has crafted out some great music and this is certainly far from his best work. Apart from ‘Crazy Feeling’ song, I didn’t find anything worth appreciating in that album.

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Overall,

It’s neat and nice attempt. The title was so much captivating that I perhaps expected a lot. Nenu Sailaja did give me ‘bit here and bit there’ moments. One time watch for crystal clear flow and at-ease natural acting.

3 starts out of 5 from me.

— Vikrant Deshmukh (Pune)

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‘Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu’ Let’s lose heart…

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Accept it or not, Gautham Menon is a different breed of tinsel town. He is innovatory and steers clear of mundane plots.

One hardly gets eye-balls popped up or chill going up the spine while watching GM work. But there is exquisiteness & delicacy. On the other hand, he is astonishingly simple and connective to our lives.

Gautham’s new flick ‘Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu’ endorses all archetypical attributes yet again. If you love Nani, you ought to watch YVM. If you are mad for Samantha, you ought to watch YVM. If you are die-hard fan of Ilaiyaraaja, you ought to watch YVM. If your taste is for sublime, subtle romantic narratives, you ought to watch YVM. And if you wish to be part of endearing tale of ‘Hide & Seek’ along shore of love life, you ought to watch YVM…..

Literal meaning of title is ‘you have stolen my heart-strings…’ and going by name there is this stealing business aka love written all over.

Form the trailers and teasers, it was anticipated (and feared) to be another college story – much in the lines of ‘Happy Days’. Gautham carefully avoided the trap and set it well poised over the timeline.

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YVM is primarily the roller-coaster ride of the relationship between Varun (enacted by Nani) and Nithya (gorgeous Samantha) that gets unfolded every now & then throughout the movie. They are childhood friends, if not close, which enjoy each other’s company pretty well. It takes one fine day to break the friendship due to almost forcible partition of pair by Varun’s elder brother. Little Nithya gets deeply hurt and carries that resentment till higher secondary school days. When encountered during 10th class, Nithya makes it even by outrightly rejecting Varun’s  advances to befriend again.

However, Varun’s sincere efforts to build the bridges pay off and she gets along him nicely.  Thanks to quoted ‘Cute Boy’ image Varun has earned, Nithya finds a pride, comfort and juvenile love in his company. Here viewers are apprised of the striking contrasts of financial backgrounds of protagonists. Nithya hails from a filthy rich family who can afford to allocate a plush car for her commuting to school whereas Varun is part of middle class ménage staying in average downtown of Hyderabad.
While Varun is going to spend holidays by visiting home town, Nithya casually mentions their plans of having vacations in Australia !  Story moves on…. and after few frames of pinky basked moments, another rift comes between the couple. This time the reason is rather childish.

Nithya gets elected as School leader and wants Varun to join the league too. However, owing to his life ideology, he plainly refuses to get pulled in unnecessary chores.  Altercations prevail and they unknowingly bruise each other verbally – so much to the extent that Nithya pronounces “It’s over!”……

Cut to the life in 20’s…. The bubbly college days…. Vaurn has added muscularity to his ‘Cute Boy’ postage by keeping a stubble and Nithya ‘has turned into a woman’ as pointed by Varun in one of their conversation over coffee. The natural attraction towards each other resurfaces and while overcoming the jitteriness, Varun tries to win her heart by employing many antics. The melodious song he performs during musical competition, receives her accolades and Nithya’s friends almost push her to respond to Varun’s incessant attempts. While camaraderie continues, now they start seeing the mild sprout of romance emerging. Finally on one rainy night (and coincidently its Nithya’s birthday), she proposes him.
The world becomes suddenly resonant for the couple and they get immersed into fathoms of companionship, overlooking the outer world completely ! Cinematographer M.S. Prabhu deserves a pat on his back for stupendous capturing of feelings and meaningful camera frames.

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Gautham’s films are not without hurdles for cupid. While Varun-Nithya are just going overboard, comes another twist. Varun’s elder brother gets rejected by a girl from arranged marriage set-up due to the financial mis-match of families. The rejection leaves a dent in Varun’s parents mind.

To cover up the brooding they bring up the hard realities of life and have passing mention of marriage partner suitability to match the family values. Also, the need to study higher and earn a fat salaried job is presented as inevitable choice. This changes Varun’s course of life. He has to put in those serious hours to score and strive hard to attain premium career. He chooses to appear for CAT exam and get into IIM.

This naturally takes a toll on his daily routine and Nithya, who is back from her holidays in Edinburgh (Scotland), feels left high & dry. Noteworthy changes in behavior of Varun maker her unhappy and on the verge of anguish. To set matter clear, she tries to open different channels of communication but things roll up in bizarre sequence and couple is in distress again.

When Varun cracks the CAT exam and wishes to enroll for Management College in Kerala, Nithya cannot imagine the parting pain of staying away from him for 2 long years. The fracas on terrace of Varun’s building is almost predictable. Varun denies Nithya to accompany her to Kerala because he wants to concentrate fully on studies and make it big. She is wounded and their paths separate !

Two years flow by and Varun, now holding a premium MBA degree and cozy job, sets out to find Nithya. He is informed that Nithya now works as school-teacher in Tsunami  Rehabilitation camp located somewhere at unknown sea-bank of Tamilnadu. Varun, with his & her friends, makes it there, only to find her retorting about his delayed comeback. Varun tries no stone unturned to explain her about his position and why he opted the career ahead of love life for stipulated period of time. He even sends her those 473 emails which were composed as ‘draft’ during his MBA days but were never delivered to Nithya. According to him, he missed her day in & day out and was waiting for re-unite again.

Nithya, however, is very firm on her thinking. She questions his priorities and abrasively avers that its always been his decisions that got all the attention & execution. It’s a moment of denial and Varun seems to have taken it to his heart. He leaves the place and tries to heal his contused mind. Meanwhile, Nithya keeps on dwelling between right & wrong, per her inner voice….

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When Nithya comes to Hyderabad to be part of her friend’s wedding, she suddenly feels like touch-basing Varun. Met over secluded coffee table, Varun breaks the news of him getting engaged to another girl ‘Radhika’ who according to him & his family is ‘very simple girl with middle class values!’

Not knowing how to react, Nithya tried to control herself but promised Varun to come over for wedding.

On eve of Wedding, when she sees Varun with Radhika, it becomes the most difficult picture to assimilate. At night, she parks outside Varun’s colony and waits for him sobbingly. Varun, equally disturbed by having Nithya at wedding ceremony, calls her. They meet at parking & at terrace where both allege each other for forcing to see this day. Both spend next many hours together quarrelling, driving, leg-pulling & silently taking solace in each other’s company. Varun, trying to put things in right perspective, bids her good-bye with no intention of letting her come in his life again. However, numerous moments of togetherness cloud in both minds. When he enters house, his father gets engaged in brief discussion with him and redirects to Nithya – than marrying with Radhika !

Having listened to remote corners of heart, Varun makes up his mind and dashes into Nithya’s home pretty early in the morning. Another turmoil of expressions, uncovering of eternal love & weight out down in favor of being soul-mates for each other and presto! The couple is back on the songs …

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When the closing credits are rolling over, viewers slowly get out of the plot and regain the nuances of our world. One might criticize YVM for its snail pace that may hamper today’s fast-food audience. But Gautham maintains his creativity by intricately weaving the tale frame by frame. He could have edited it better to omit some ‘what-they-are-doing-here?’ type scenes 😛

The climax might not go well with few whereas the place for songs is expected to have got precisely designed. Barring those minor flaws, it is absolute clean entertainment containerized in 2 hour 15 minutes saga. Gautham doesn’t proclaim larger-than-life characters and fiction. He also keeps it to the basics to unearth the beauty of the script. From that angle, YVM is well crafted. Though predominantly created for younger viewership, it is the adorable story at the helm that produced the magic.

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Nani, is awesome playing Varun, the guy with cool head on his shoulders. While his affection for Nithya is axiomatic throughout the movie, he depicted the finer aspects of Varun’s personality with great ease. Nani is the class of actors who work really hard to carve out the performances of extremely high caliber. I admire him for bang-on delivery and praiseworthy portrayal.

Samantha is the new name for beauteousness. Who will forget her epic Jessie from ‘Ye Maya Chesave’? Being at the fore of movie, she has ruled emphatically.  Nobody conveys feeling like Samantha does.  With uncanny gift of crystal beauty, she conjures the audience by way of ultra-gorgeous appearance.

Nithya is a very stubborn, sensitive and steadfast girlfriend. She always wants to put relationship ahead of all things in life and frequently gets caught up between subtle & gross. Samantha impersonates Nithya in the way that probably nobody else can. Be it slightly raised eyebrows or those mind-blowing twinkles, be a stern, witty reply given to a chasing boyfriend or break down at loss, Samantha does it all with her charisma. She has that extra-terrestrial aura of splendidness needed for making the character unforgettable. Like Jessie, Nithya is bound to stay in the memory footprints of her fans forever.

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Music is pleasant but as said, could have been placed more wisely in the stream of things. Co-artists have played the roles religiously making the film as seamless as it can.

If you wish to savor the classic romance blended in new-age effervescence, ‘Yeto  Vellipoyindhi Manasu’ is the most fruitful choice. Gautham Menon has meet the expectations of multiplex crowd and young generation by putting down simple screenplay and as the movie poster says “This could be your love story !!” ……… Perhaps it will be the biggest factor of YVM’s success… !!

– Vikrant Deshmukh

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(Content Copyright : Vikrant Deshmukh)