When watching this film, I suddenly realised it's been a damned long time since the last time I saw one of my favourites, Siddharth, in a film. Admittedly, last year was my least active film-watching (or blogging!) year since I got into Indian films, so it hasn't been anything particular about his recent films (all of which I will probably get to eventually) that's made sure I've stayed away. Still, this begs the question - what's happening with Siddharth these days?
In all honesty, the usual - the actor is dipping a toe into production, working with new directors in Telugu and Tamil cinemas, and typically putting out films that are not necessarily awe-inspiring but solid work. I get the sense he's not actively going out of his way not to star in Hindi films, or away from "alternative" roles, and his future releases promise some variety, but so far it seems that while I was occupied elsewhere, he's mainly done romantic entertainers. I won't blame him, since two years in film time is a short time, and I think he is actively seeking to do things other than his bread'n'butter, ie these romantic roles. (Off-camera, he's still being delightfully opinionated on Twitter!)
Baava is a Telugu debut direction for Rambabu, and a thoroughly harmless romantic family film about Veerababu (Siddharth) who is essentially a prankster, causing his fellow villagers quite a bit of grief. He meets a girl named Varalakshmi (Pranitha), who has returned to the village after completing her studies and - no surprises here - falls in love with her. However, as ever, the union of two lovers is never complete until their families are also united, and Veerababu's and Varalakshmi's families have more history than others'...
As with most of Siddharth's films, it's hard not to compare this one to Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, the grand jewel of his past career, because of the obvious similarities. In a sense, over here he also plays a character who starts out kind of ridiculously hyperactive and (to some) annoying to boot. Then the love story kicks in properly, and his character mellows out and becomes more relatable, but still has to prove himself to the female lead character's family. I think NVNN is a lot stronger in the hyper first half, but Baava comes to its own eventually as well.
If there is anything bad to say about the film, it's perhaps that it never quite rises above "adequate". Both leads are fine, songs are cute, story can be compelling at times but draggy during some moments. It's a serviceable, entertaining film, but doesn't offer much anything that's new.
Is that necessarily a bad thing, though? Not sure. It didn't blow me away, but it did move me at times (the back stories for certain characters were great!) and best of all, it didn't really have anything to annoy me, unless you count the forgettable gang of friends of Veerababu on the first half.
It's worth watching, and if you're a fan of Siddharth, perhaps even owning.