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'Arjun Reddy' Review: Bold and Trippy

Movie: Arjun Reddy
Rating: 3.25/5
Banner:
Bhadrakali Pictures
Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Shalini Pandey, Kanchana, Sanjay Swaroop, Rahul RamakrishnaKamal Kamaraju, Gopinath Bhat, Jia Sharma, Amit Sharma, Priyadarshi, Bhuvan, Aditi myakal
Cinematography: Raju Thota
Editing: Shashank
Producers: Pranay Reddy Vanga
Written and directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga
Release date: August 25, 2017

One film that hit the headlines in the recent times is "Arjun Reddy" thanks to the controversy surrounding the film over posters that had the hero and heroine kissing.

The controversy made the film 'hot' and it created an instant buzz as a one-of-its-kind bold film. The theatrical trailer was also innovative. So, does the film live up to the hype? Let's find out...

Story:
Arjun Reddy (Vijay Devarakonda), an ortho doctor has issues with alcoholism. He is an efficient ortho surgeon, but on the personal front, he is an alcoholic. And the reason for his turning into one is his love failure during his college days in Mangalore Medical College.

While in college, he falls for first year student of MBBS. Preeti (Shalini) too likes him and their edgy love affair begins. Her father doesn’t agree to their relationship and a huge tussle happens between Arjun Reddy and Preeti’s family. This results in Preeti’s father marrying her off to another person.

After knowing that she got married, Arjun Reddy turns alcoholic and his anger issues further escalate. He becomes a modern-day version of Devdas who takes to alcohol, drugs, and tries to distance himself from the society.

Artistes’ Performances:
It is completely Vijay’s show right from beginning to end. Vijay Devarakonda has transformed totally from a smart and handsome youngster in 'Pelli Choopulu' to obsessive and self-destructive young college student well. He has shown variations in his characterization -- a simple young medical student to a self-destructive doctor. He is equally at ease in romantic scenes. This is one of the best performances from a Telugu hero in a long time.

Shalini Pandey impresses in her debut movie.

The young guys who portrayed Vijay's friends have played their parts well. Rahul Ramakrishna, Vijay’s close friend in the film, is particularly terrific.

Senior actress Kanchana adds emotional depth. Kamal Kamaraju, Sanjay Swaroop, Aditi and others have played their roles well.

Technical Excellence:
The film has independent movie feel and the camera and production values are not flashy while being adequate.

The cameraman has created enough mood for the theme. The story moves from Mangalore to Mussoorie, Hyderabad to Europe. All the locations are captured beautifully.

More than camera work, it is the background score that has become a huge asset to the movie. BG score is absolutely brilliant.

Dialogues penned by the director are natural and also intelligent. There is heavy usage of English in the conversations.

Highlights:
Vijay Devarakonda's performance
Brilliant first half
Bold treatment
New kind of narration

Drawback:
Three hours run-time
Uneven second half

Analysis:
Many youthful movies have come in the past, but no film has been told like “Arjun Reddy”. It has a completely new approach when it comes to storytelling. The film is trippy, edgy and daring.

The characters are full of life. Situations are straight out from today’s youngsters' real lives. Dialogues are like day-to-day conversations.

From the first shot with the lead couple sleeping (post sex, perhaps) at the beach to the final twist, the movie never treads the conventional method.

The director has chosen a different cinematic language to tell the story of a person who is obsessive about his love, a person who can’t get rid of the past.

Much like “Dev D” (story is almost like “Devadas”), the film is unbridled and defies conventions. Sandeep Vanga’s “Arjun Reddy” is a definite breakthrough for Tollywood.

The director gets bold in depicting the relationship between Vijay Devarakonda and heroine Shalini Pandey as they freely kiss without caring about anyone (the film is sprinkled with nearly 25 kisses, but none of them are vulgar. In fact, they are shot to look quite natural). They make love. Their friends are also liberal. Even the college ragging and fights between students are different.

Director begins with the story of Vijay Devarakonda practicing as a doctor and immediately cuts to his college life and cuts back to the current scene.

The editing pattern is also new. Once it is established that he is turning decadent, the story cuts to hero being a brilliant medical student.

While the movie is ultra modern, the director has used classical songs for the background score giving a total contrast, which merges beautifully with the scheme of things.

The scene of the hero seeing heroine for the first time lasts nearly 10 minutes and suddenly an old classic Kannada song is played.

In another scene, when hero leaves heroine when her father rejects him, their emotional confrontation is shot without a cut (that means both Vijay Devarakonda and Shalini have to perform with dialogues much like in a stage play), that adds reality.

By interval, you get the feeling that one is watching an unconventional love story. The interval bang is also a bit shocking for regular audiences.

The film then moves on telling how obsessive Vijay becomes as his lover is married off to another guy and his decadent lifestyle.

In the second half, Rahul Ramakrishna, the guy who plays Vijay Devarakonda's friend, makes the movie watchable with his witty conversations as the story goes slow and the director indulges in plenty of unnecessary sequences repeating the same outbursts.

If the film was much tighter in the second half, “Arjun Reddy” would have left us with a beautiful feel. Too many indulgent scenes and lethargic pace in the second half has taken off the beauty of the first half.

On the downside, songs are not catchy. While the background score is terrific, the songs are not trendy. Editing is also inconsistent. Nevertheless, the movie ends again in a bold manner.

“Arjun Reddy” is a class act from Vijay Devarakonda, as he has put his blood and soul into the character. He showcases how good a performer he is. He is not just another handsome guy, he is also a performer and he holds the movie from the beginning and he goes through many transformations as the story progresses.

On the whole, watch this film as it completely reinvents the youthful lover story genre.  It doesn’t appeal to all kinds of people as it is not told in a conventional way. Mainly youth and audiences who are game for new things will connect with the film.  

Whether the film ends up as a box office scorcher or not, the movie has definitely established Vijay Devarakonda and also introduces a new talented director to Tollywood.

“Arjun Reddy” is intense, daring and lengthy youthful love story, a modern take on “Devadas”.

Bottom-line: Daringly Different

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