Bhanumathi & Ramakrishna movie review: A sensible new-age love story
An interesting premise elevated by strong performances
Marriage in India is complicated. One would think the point of such an institution is to find a person to spend your life with, but compatibility usually features last in the ‘marriage checklist.’ There is salary, caste... and of course, age. The most favourite joke of ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ at weddings is to tell a young person that they are next in line. As one gets closer to 30, this insistence on marriage, offered as a solution to every problem, morphs into full-blown panic.
Cast; Salony Luthra, Naveen Chandra
Director: Srikanth Nagothi
Streaming on: Aha
With all this in mind, the premise of Bhanumathi & Ramakrishna is interesting. A thirty-year-old successful working woman, Bhanumathi, gets dumped by her long-term boyfriend, Ram, who chooses to marry a younger woman. It doesn’t matter to him that he is the same age as Bhanumathi. On the other hand, there’s the unmarried Ramakrishna (Naveen Chandra) who is 33. We learn that his marital status is on account of expectations of a ‘government job’ and a commensurate salary. With men expected to reach a position of financial security, in this worsening economy, at the age of 27, a woman’s ability to earn, it seems, has no consequence on their choices.
It is this mismatch of expectations that the film explores with its lead characters, Bhanumathi and Ramakrishna, who are also opposites in character. Bhanumathi is headstrong, modern and someone interested in profiles rather than people. She says as much when she chooses to promote a fellow employee. It also reflects in her choice of a boyfriend. Money doesn’t matter to her, but she’s keen that he be successful. Ramakrishna, on the other hand, is naïve, his innocence yet to be marred by the big cities. He is the anti-thesis of the profile Bhanumathi wants, and yet, he makes her laugh. Is that enough though?
The film’s mature writing ensures that these characters come across as real people, and not just archetypes. It beautifully walks the thin line between question and judgment—be it her father asking Bhanu about her break-up and weight gain, or Ramakrishna asking Bhanu’s roommates about their live-in relationship. In the end, don’t we all seek acceptance? The film silently catalogues how the two effortlessly evolve with each other. Both Salony and Naveen are terrific as Bhanumathi and Ramakrishna, bringing a certain ease and nonchalant nuance to their performance.
But I wish the film had focussed on their relationship, and not just its beginning. It is a problem with most of our romcoms: The film ends when the relationship begins. Yes, we see a connection, but it doesn’t change that Bhanumathi and Ramakrishna are very different people. She wines and dines, where Ramakrishna orders curd rice. What happens to the small things? Not to mention, there is also the clash of the families. Bhanu hails from a wealthy, progressive family, while Ramakrishna belongs to a middle-class, orthodox family. How do they handle this conflict? But to be fair, all of these conflicts become points to ponder only because of the connection Bhanu and Ramakrishna create with us. And that is an indication of a job done well.