Tholi Prema Review - Familar terrain but neatly executed
Love at first sight, ego issues, break up and then patch up. Reminds you of many films right. Tholi Prema might borrow its name from the 1998 Pawan Kalyan starrer but think of it and it is actually similar to the actor's 2001 blockbuster Kushi. There, it was the girl who was more hot headed while the roles are reversed here. Despite the 'been there and done that' feel throughout the film, debutant Venky Atluri does manage to keep us adequately engaged and entertained.
It is love at first sight for the impulsive Aditya (Varun Tej) and true to his nature he wastes no time in letting Varsha (Rashmi Khanna) know this. She doesn't relent immediately but her interest is obvious. The film then traverses their journey as a couple who know they need each other but Aditya's adamanacy and aggressiveness keeps delaying the inevitable.
The lead pair is convincing and in a fairly lighthearted romance this easily becomes the most crucial aspect. Their chemistry isn't entirely rocking but you sense their incompleteness without each other. Venky does a few things right. He knows that the story is actually stagnant for most of the time and so he smartly keeps changing the landscapes. The UK portions again are anything but cliche but to the director's credit he keeps things simple and never stretches any scene beyond its worth. The comedy too isn't novel but a certain maturity is apparent.Take for instance the portions of Vidyulekha. The laughs are there at her cost but there is absolutely no body shamming.
I hoped the film made an effort to show how Aditya and Varsha coped in the absence of each other. The film conveniently fast forwards by six years. So we get to see their life in college in India when they are in a relationship and later in the UK when they aren't in one but they happen to live under one roof. So while we certainly would like to see them together we are not desperately rooting for the same simply because we really haven't seen how the absence of the other had hurt both all this while. The reveal close to the climax about how Varsha came to the UK is an effort to justify this but comes across as contrived.
Tholi Prema might not be the torchbearer of romantic films but it works quite well at a superficial level.