Because the title of this Telugu family entertainer I believe translates something along the lines of "Sometimes sweet, sometimes difficult", one can't help but think of Karan Johar's Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. It is indeed all about loving your parents, but instead of overwrought melodrama with a cold, almost cruel patriarch who values his pride over anything, Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam diffuses some realism into its otherwise fluffy family values. The fact is that family life is more than singing songs on happy occasions and even if the love is there, sometimes people do the wrong things, say the wrong things and despite the love being there, split up.
Not surprisingly, the latest Siddharth-starrer in Telugu, directed by Kishore Kumar (um, not that Kishore Kumar) is a romantic entertainer of great quality.
The newcomer Tamanna plays Geeta, a smalltown girl who comes to Hyderabad for college and runs into Siddhu (Siddharth). She is unimpressed with him to begin with, and it's really no wonder. He's a seemingly incurable flirt, going from girl to girl like a hyperactive bee of sorts. But hanging out with him and their mutual friends, she begins to see another side of him. As it happens, the poor boy is from a broken home, and is actually very sweet despite his flirty ways.
They become friends, and then much more, but just as they're to have their first date, Geeta's father arrives and takes her back home. Siddhu, having seen DDLJ enough times, goes to Geeta, but her father (surprise!) disapproves of the match and asks Siddhu, "If your family is broken, how am I to believe you can keep my daughter and your family with her together?".
Now, instead of arguing about the logic of the statement, Siddhu and Geeta are faced with the task of getting Siddhu's divorced parents back together.
Easier said than done, right?
KIKK is not a perfect movie; it takes a long while to warm up, as Siddhu really does not come off as very likable at first, and the romance develops slowly. Tamanna is a breath of fresh air, though, and for her first role she does an extremely good job of carrying the movie when Siddharth isn't winning the viewer's sympathies at first. Eventually the film finds its pace and becomes a solid entertainer.
Prakash Raj - or as we now call him, Prakash Dad - does a fine job in the film, as always. It's great to see the falling out of the parents, the difficulty of the situation, and how they can't quite bring themselves to just forgive and move on. It feels problematic in the same way situations in real life typically are; there aren't any simple solutions to fix these relationships.
But it's great to watch Siddhu and Geeta try anyway, and run into their own problems, and resolve those. The chemistry is lovely, and it feels like these really are people whose personalities match, instead of just being the cute couple you root for. The way they move from friendship to love feels natural, as well.
The soundtrack is perfect, peppy Shankar-Ehsan-Loy. Fun to watch, fun to listen to - no groundbreaking stuff but solid all the same. Tamanna can dance, as can Siddharth (and boy can he!), so absolutely no complaints there. I foresee myself rewatching these songs a ton.
But speaking of complaints, I (kind of) have one.
Because I was so underwhelmed during the first 40 minutes or so, I can't help but think maybe this "Siddharth + Telugu family entertainer with youthful romance at the center of it" combo is getting too old. Gasp, shock! I know, I didn't think I'd ever find myself thinking it, much less typing it. The thing is, I can't get my Siddharth fix off this movie as well as some of the others, and I don't know what to blame. Is it the script, his character literally being a pastiche of the Siddhu characters we've seen in virtually every film he's been in? Is it the fact he himself is uninspired? Is it the fact Tamanna miraculously outshines him? Is it just the damn silly haircut?
Look, I'm not saying he's bad in this. He's not. And the movie doesn't suffer because of my lack of fangirliness, either. Even if it's in the same vein as Bommarillu, it's actually pretty original.
Of course, there are some absolute duds in the movie - the comedy storylines featuring a father of Geeta's friend and another one featuring Siddhu's friend are just such a waste of celluloid. There are some Southie comedians I suppose I 'get', but I think I can count them with two fingers, and neither of these guys were one of that crowd. On the second watch I'll make sure to fast-forward.
I think what's sometimes more interesting than how I rate these Siddharth-starring family entertainers is how variedly people react to them at large. Some people worship Bommarillu, others feel its a waste of time, others despise Aata and some find it cracktastic. It'll be interesting to see where KIKK falls in people's Siddharth-o-Meter's. I have a feeling it'll make less waves than the others, but will be regarded as a good movie.
For me, I think it'll be decided via rewatches. It's cute enough to be rewatched for sure, but not addictive enough to demand it.
And even with the feelings of slight underwhelment as stated above, Siddharth, in case you're reading, don't stop making these, because I'd rather watch ten more of these than a dull Southie action-focused masala. Trust me.