Vivaha Bhojanambu Movie Review: Monotony taints a silly yet promising premise
Harmless fun gradually turns exhaustive in this silly comedy
There is little to peruse in Vivaha Bhojanambu. The Ram Abbaraju-directorial follows a newly-wed man’s drudgery and attempts to evict his in-laws’ family when they are confined in his modest house during the first nationwide lockdown in March, 2020. The problem with the film starts when we too feel constricted just like these characters in this over-long comedy that runs for two temper-testing and exasperating hours. Like the relatives, the film overstays its welcome, spiralling through a shtick while characters, or should I say, caricatures, aimlessly plod from one banal sequence to another. The writing is not completely devoid of effort though; attempts to invoke humour are evident but they stop seeing fruition at a nascent level, say, around the half-hour mark, right after it lays the foundation for a mad-cap family comedy.
Directed by: Ram Abbaraju
Cast: Sundeep Kishan, Satya, Aarjavee, Sudharsan, Srikanth Iyengar
Streaming on: SonyLIV
The film has a great premise with all the toppings needed to churn out a contained, quirky comedy: When Anitha (Aarjavee, who has quite a hard time lip-syncing) announces her intention to get married to her love interest Mahesh (an adequate Sathya), to her affluent family and the news is immediately met with petty condescension. Anitha’s father Rama Krishna (Srikanth Iyengar, the film’s strongest link), and her family are quick to express disdain for Mahesh’s appearance and this disparaging gaze only deepens after they visit Mahesh’s house. I wondered whether it is Rama Krishna, who is leering down upon Mahesh’s countenance and financial background or is it the film’s writing itself. The boundaries between the two remain blurred for almost the entire runtime, before, of course, Rama Krishna changes his heart in the climax.
The characters are cardboard cutouts with idiosyncrasies; Satya is introduced as a miser (he spurns this label and instead calls himself a cautious spender) who, literally, latches on to another vehicle to save the fuel of his two-wheeler; Rama Krishna is a perennially vexed middle-aged man whose interactions with Mahesh rest on borderline inquisition; Mahesh’s father, Venkateswar Rao (Sivan Narayana) is sweet-toothed; Rama Krishna’s brother, Jaya Krishna (played by the late TNR) is a dimwit who is sporadically reminded about his dorkiness by hurling basic arithmetic operations at him; Anitha is... well, she doesn’t have a personality beyond an understanding partner. And then there’s Nellore Prabha (Sundeep Kishan in a cameo with an over-the-top Nellore dialect) an ambulance driver who hallucinates his dead girlfriend and keeps iterating adages. You get the idea of the film’s universe, right?
All of these funky characters could have instigated a laughter riot with the right amount of wit, which the script lacks at a rudimentary level. Take, for instance, a comedy like Ek Mini Katha which is also replete with caricaturish characters in a similar setting. However, it worked for me on the back of its heightened silliness. Vivaha Bhojanambu too is equally silly, and I don’t mean it in a slighting way. In fact, I enjoyed the film’s first act for this precise silliness; it does a good job at introducing us to these peculiar people, but after a point, the film runs out of tricks and finds itself in a slump of monotonous gags — the majority of the puns involve Rama Krishna insulting Mahesh's economic background.
For the most part of the film, akin to Rama Krishna, I was craving to know Mahesh’s backstory and what brought him and Anitha together. We do get an ill-placed, generic sequence dedicated to their blossoming relationship, and I ended up regretting my wish. Towards the end, there are well-intended attempts to make it a ‘deep’ story, with a reveal that doesn’t add any value, but the pit it dug until then with repetitious sketches is deeper.
Vivaha Bhojanambu has good intentions, which get lost under the tedium of unfunny gags. It’s a wasted opportunity.