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Some Ramblings - Ye Maya Chesave
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla
ye maya chesave

Honesty is an undermined, undervalued, and an underestimated emotion in telugu movies. That, subtlety would often not register with the audience is often quoted as the reason for the makers to go with the broad gestures even when dealing with the tenderest of feelings. And the amped up dialogues that go with the loud tone of the scene automatically makes a mockery of the original intentions. While tone-deafness stands on one side of the spectrum, on the other side stands artificial, manufactured emotions, that aim less at conveying the honesty of the scene and more at spoon-feeding the intentions to the audience. While Puri Jagannadh's heroes go for the loudness, Mani Ratnam's, answer for the artificiality, when dealing with love. And right in the middle of these two extremes, lies honesty. And only a handful of movies - Maro Charitra, Geetanjali, Nuvve Kaavali - achieved the perfect balance, where the emotions never seem forced and the situations never appear contrived, just for the convenience of the story or characters. Whatever points of conflict that the characters might have to face along the way, are already accepted as the pre-conditions, and the rest of the movie is about how they fare, given the hardships. In 'Geetanjali', the terminal illness of the lead characters, in 'Maro Charitra', the culture conflict, 'in 'Nuvve Kaavali', the friendship-love transition, are all laid out before hand. These movies are about how the characters deal with the conditions and come out on the other side - successfully, and sometimes, not so. And after very very long time, here finally is a telugu movie that honestly deals with love and love alone, with a sincerity that is not often seen in telugu movies.

One could go as far as claiming this movie as a 'never before' in telugu, for the audacity that Gautam Menon has taken up, scripting what is essentially a two-character stage play, where all that the two roles do is nothing but bear open their souls and talk about what it really feels like inside and the talk is direct, honest and heart-felt. The characters don't just stop at proclaiming their love for each other and start basking in the benefits the new found status provides, but they constantly work at - break-ups, patch-ups and all - word by word, brick by brick. And the choice of rooting the characters in reality becomes a double-edged sword to deal with, after the initial eye-fluttering sweet-nothings phase. While it takes away the comfort of faux-conflicts that similar love stories take advantage of, it offers the benefit of providing a fresh, contemporary, real-world view of how today's characters feels about their emotions and obligations, that the rest of the world has to contend with too. Here there are no gun-toting, weapon-wielding cruel villains to keep the couple in question apart. The problems they face are every day life's - age, cultures, personalities - and the conversations they have to chip away at them, pertain to the same world as the average man. Here problems are not made up or far fetched and neither the resolutions, easy and convenient. Menon sets himself up with bare-bone issues - culture and personality - and doesn't give himself any leeway by making one side evil, and the other noble, and on top of it, focuses for much of the movie, solely on the lead couple. There have been movies populated with meager characters before ('Yaadein', 'Show', 'Kaun' etc), but never before a love story where what works for and against the characters, are the characters themselves.

This is Menon's movie - Menon, the dialogue writer. The screenplay providing just the right platform, Menon unleashes some of the most engaging conversations that never feel 'written' and never calling attention to themselves. And one particular sequence, lasting a good 10 minutes, where the heroine for the first time reciprocates the hero's feelings, deserves a sound applause. The sequence never cuts away, camera stays constantly on the characters faces, while they engage in a dialogue that feels real and sincere. And same goes with the break-up sequence later in the movie (easily rivaling the benchmark set by the hero's profession of love towards the heroine in 'Nuvve Kaavaali'). As the movie progresses and the focus grows more and more on the couple, the conversations start growing in intensity and delve more into the personalities, revealing the underlying complexities of the characters and situations. And the challenge to make each and every conversation interesting, and importantly, about something, builds with each passing scene and Menon's words grow just as interesting. In 'Vettaiyadu Vilayadu' ('Raghavan'), in the first romantic interlude between Kamal and Jothika, there is hilarious dialogue, when Kamal continues talking to Jothika in quick bursts with not enough words in there to make up a full sentence, JOthika asks 'why is that we are talking like characters in a Mani Ratnam movie'? And this time around, when the situation arises where the characters have to talk about something, not just about and around love, Menon raises his game and shows how if the words are right, and more, if the words feel right between a romantic pair, the movie never needs the use of extraneous characters, unnecessary conflicts, and needless twists and turns. Never before have two lovers, in a telugu movie, been equipped with words alone, and whereby, never before has a love story in telugu felt so real.

Three cheers!

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This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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