Love Story Movie Review: A cocktail of emotions
Despite starting out promisingly, the film loses steam because of the uninspired writing
Love Story hinges on the premise of caste discrimination and complex issues faced by women. The story is centered on the romance between good neighbours — Revanth (Naga Chaitanya) and Mounika (Sai Pallavi) — who move to the city from Armoor to realise their dreams. While Revanth belongs to an underprivileged community and always believes in living with dignity, Mounika hails from a rich family, who doesn’t understand her passion. Revanth runs a Zumba centre to make ends meet and Mouni wants to pursue a career in the IT industry. Both agree to take Zumba classes together until they find what they are looking for.
Cast: Naga Chaitanya, Sai Pallavi, Rajeev Kanakala, Easwari Rao
Direction: Sekhar Kammula
The film effectively takes on the dynamics of the caste disparities and some significant issues encountered by women. We are living in a world where the humiliation and discrimination of the oppressed caste, and the exploitation of women, irrespective of their caste identities, are a common sight. Director Sekhar Kammula has changed his usual style of filmmaking and has done a commendable job with the narration. He paints quite a realistic portrayal of the disparities in society. The attention to the rural setting, and the characters' accents elevate the film. The storytelling is enhanced with an intriguing background score and terrific cinematography.
Despite starting out promisingly, the film loses steam because of the uninspired writing. Fundamentally, the premise of Love Story is as old as Telugu cinema itself! It’s about a poor boy loving a rich girl, and the frustrations and distress that come along with it. At each template point, the story tries to take a different turn but squanders its potential by not making it engaging. The narrative moves at a sluggish pace resulting in diluting the impact of some highly dramatic scenes. The predictability of it all also takes away from Love Story.
It is disappointing that a romantic drama like Love Story fails to pack a punch with the conflict in the screenplay. Even as the lead pair confront their fears, reconcile with their haunting past, and question their own love for each other, Sekhar Kammula never really manages to make you feel empathy for them. The poor placement of the much-hyped Saranga Dariya adds to the woes.
Nevertheless, the ending is definitely bold. There is no doubt that the big final reveal, and the deeply disturbing climax, will definitely deliver a hard punch to the gut.
Sai Pallavi is a livewire in the film, and she is a delight to watch, especially in the heartfelt emotional sequences. But it's Naga Chaitanya who has the edge here as he conveys Revanth's character arc that travels from him being naive to emphatic and angry with such nuance that it's difficult to not root for him. In fact, this is easily Chay's most mature performance and can also be ranked among the best by any actor in recent times.
The supporting cast too comprises a team of terrific actors. Rajeev Kanakala as Mounika's babai is in great form, as is Devayani and Easwari Rao, who play Mouni and Revanth's mothers, respectively. Uttej too has a memorable role as a cop.
While there are a lot of factors that determine a film’s commercial success, we can keep that all aside and give the film a try for the effective performances and the inherent honesty of a Sekhar Kammula film.