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'Tholi Prema' Review: Three Cheers!

Movie: Tholi Prema
Rating: 3/5
Banner:
Sri Venkateshwara Cine Chitra
Cast: Varun Tej, Raashi Khanna, Sapna Pabbi, Suhasini Maniratnam, Priyadarshi, Vidyullekha Raman, Viva Harsha & others
Music: Thaman
Cinematography: George C. Williams
Editor: Naveen Nooli
Producer: BVSN Pras 
Director: Venky Atluri
Release date: Feb 09, 2018

Tholi Prema has created huge buzz for many reasons, for starters, the title is based on Pawan Kalyan’s iconic film, the songs of the movie turned out to be chart-busters and most importantly this is Varun Tej’s immediate movie after blockbuster Fidaa.

Has the film lived up to the hype?

Story:
The love story is told in phases. Aadi (Varun) and Varsha (Raashi Khanna) meet when they just finish their intermediate. He likes her, she dodges on replying. This happens when they are on a train journey. Few days later they accidentally meet again. This time, they meet in an Engineering college in Hyderabad. Both are studying in the same college. They fall in love with each other during their college days in Hyderabad but they part ways due to an incident. Their paths cross again after six years. This time they meet at their workplace in London.  

Artistes’ Performances:
Varun Tej gets to show two shades in his character as a college student and later as a matured working professional. He is quite good in both his roles and gives a neat performance.

Raashi Khanna is good in some portions. She gets a meaty role and she owns it to the maximum.

‘Pelli Choopulu’ fame Priyadarshi and Jabardasth fame ‘Hyper’ Aadhi provide some laughs. Suhasini appears in a couple of scenes. Naresh as a caste-obsessed NRI is good. Sapna Pebbi is okay.

Technical Excellence:
What stays with the audiences and impresses the most is its music! Music composer Thaman has given the best output. His songs have already become chartbusters and they are equally good on screen.

The title song is quite haunting. George Williams in his debut Telugu work has given cool visuals. He has captured the college scenes and London locations in eye-catching way.

Art work is neat. Some dialogues are good. Editing work by Naveen Nooli is inconsistent. The pace constantly dips post interval.

Highlights:
Thaman’s songs
Breezy First half
Car episode
Chemistry of the lead pair

Drawback:
Lack of emotional factor
Weak final scenes
Predictable situations

Analysis:
New director Venky Atluri has come up with a love story that talks about two lovers who meet over the years before finally realizing they are in love.

The director shows the love story in three segments, one is the teenage episode (love during the train journey) and another one is a college love story that happens almost in the same period, the third phase of the story happens six years later in London.

“Tholi Prema” is almost similar to Sumanth's “Malli Raava” and both new directors seem to have copied the same foreign film.

Venky Atluri’s “Tholi Prema” is more contemporary and is told in an entertaining and engaging manner in most parts. Similarities aside, “Tholi Prema” is packaged in a better way with beautiful music and pleasant visuals.

Thaman’s music is the soul of the movie and some romantic scenes in the first half are too good as they reflect the romance of today’s youth.

There is a particular scene wherein the heroine tells as to why she refused to accept hero's love. “We girls like it. Boys feel happy proposing to a girl and girls like to make men go around them.” This scene definitely evokes smiles.

In another scene, when one of the senior students asks her to tie raakhis to all boys, she refuses to tie one to Varun. This is quite an interesting episode.

There is another scene that stands out. Vidyu, a senior student of the college falls for Varun but he calls her akka, which totally tickles the audiences.

Just before the interval, the two lovers kiss for the first time. This sequence is shot in a totally new and hilarious manner. These moments have worked well. Parts are better than the whole story.  

Once the story comes to break-up scene during the interval, they meet again in London and anyone can guess how the movie will progress here after. This is where the film slips. The predictability in the second half is a major drawback.

Where 'Fidaa' scored, 'Tholi Prema' slips. In 'Fidaa', Sekhar Kammula has brought in high emotions involving families when the two lovers break up. So the emotional factor made 'Fidaa' a special movie. On the other hand, 'Tholi Prema' is a straight love story of two people who break up and meet again.

Thankfully, director Venky Atluri has infused some fun scenes with Hyper Aadhi and also created some beautiful sequences between the lead pair to engage us. If not for the familiarity in the second half, the film would have been even better.

The situations the director has created are not new at all. Many films have used such scenes, but the director has packaged them well.

Apart from music, the other striking point is the dialogues. The writing team has penned some terrific lines post interval. Visuals are also cool.

On the whole, Varun Tej's "Tholi Prema" makes a good watch due to the breezy romance and some youthful episodes. It might appeal to the urban audiences and youth.

Bottomline: Musical Love Story

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