C/o Kancharapalem Review: A Refreshing Tale with a Unique Voice
Imagine watching a cute romantic story from your school days unfold in front of you once again. The girl you’ve fallen for is there in front of you but then there’s the usual awkwardness that sort of prevents you from opening up to her. But then fate brings across an opportunity & that too in the form of film music. The girl you’ve fallen for may not really have a melodious voice, but then how does it matter? When she sings “Bhale Bhale Magadivoy” from Maro Charitra, it’s as if the world has come to a standstill and you would go all out to win the girl’s affection. Now imagine that you are now an adult and come across someone interesting in a very unusual circumstance and then it soon goes on to repeat in a cycle of sorts. If you are wondering why I am sounding like an incurable romantic then don’t worry, I am still in a trance of sorts after watching the new Telugu film, C/o Kancharapalem.
A film carrying praise from industry experts, trade members & even film critics ahead of its theatrical release isn’t something new. And that’s what has been happening in case of Maha Venkatesh’s debut film, C/o Kancharapalem, with Rana Daggubati and Suresh Productions coming on board the project. It was quite natural for me to be curious about the film and to check out if the film is indeed worth all the hype and hoopla, because over the last few years there has been a propensity for anything that’s even above average to be hailed as the next big thing in Telugu cinema. Hence that’s what I ended up doing at the first given opportunity despite a rather unusually busy weekend. So what have been my findings? How genuine is the positive feedback that the film has been generating and why? Let me come to all of that shortly.
The film is set in Kancharapalem, a locality in Vizag and revolves around 4 different stories that run in parallel. Sundaram,a schoolboy has a crush on his classmate Sunitha, so much so that he even decides to wear a pink shirt, much to the dismay of everyone around, just because pink happens to be her favourite colour. They finally start talking and he encourages her to sing the popular “Bhale Bhale” song during the forthcoming Independence Day celebrations in school. On the other hand Joseph is a youngster who leads a carefree life along with his friends, only to fall for Bhargavi, a fiery college student. Initially they clash with each other before falling in love and just when Joseph decides to focus on his career for the sake of a better life along with Bhargavi, fate interferes in the form of religion.
Geddam works at a local liquor store and he falls in love with Saleema, a lady who frequents his shop for her daily fix of Mansion House brandy. Despite knowing her reality he doesn’t turn away from her, he’s an idealist of sorts who believes in simple old fashioned love. Raju is a 49 year old bachelor working as an attendant in a government office. In comes Radha from Odisha, a 42 year old widow with a 20 year old college going daughter and a senior colleague of Raju. They hit it off well and seeing his earnestness and good nature she even ends up proposing to him. These are the 4 lovely tales that the film brings to us. All of them talk about love that one comes across in various stages in life, telling us that love will always remain an important part of our lives no matter how old we are.
Filmed on actual locations with people from Kancharapalem, the film boasts of no trained professional actors and that adds a lot to the authenticity. The writing by Maha Venkatesh makes sure that all the 4 stories have their own charm and manage to impress us in their own ways. By now everyone seems to be talking about the culmination, probably one of the most endearing ones seen in Telugu cinema in recent times. I wouldn’t want to mention anything in particular about the same as there’s a risk of spoilers, but I would certainly say that it would more than leave you with a smile on your face as the film comes to a close. Despite being shot on a shoestring budget the film does not suffer from poor production values, in fact it scores very well on the detailing front by getting so many elements taken care of. Sweekar Agasthi’s music (songs as well as the BGM) works pretty well with the mood and the tempo of the film.
The film also boasts of some very effective performances from its sparkling new cast which includes Mohan Bhagath, Radha Bessy, Subba Rao, Praneeta Patnaik, Karthik Ratnam and even the producer Praveena Paruchuri (she plays Saleema). There’s a lot that goes in favour of the film and it’s no surprise if it still lingers on in your mind long after you’ve finished watching it. Maha Venkatesh makes his debut in style, without resorting to anything flashy in the form of C/o Kancharapalem. It’s a film that one would look back with pride long after the year gets over.
C/o Kancharapalem is a genuinely interesting film that’s refreshing in every sense and one that has a unique voice of its own.