Sunday, September 6, 2009

A small guide to family counselling: Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam.

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.


Anonymous said...

Loved your review & loved the movie too. Ofcourse, its not the best Sid movie(that will always be Bommarillu for me), but i felt it is a pretty solid good entertainer. Nothing felt over the top or forced to me. I'll assign your slight underwhelment feelings to Sid's haircut, which i'm not fond of either.
I think comedy in Telugu films is mostly based on play of words, hence difficult to capture in subtitles.
Even though i don't agree, i understood where Geeta's dad was coming from. There is a saying in telugu that one should check the previous 7 generations family history, before giving away a daughter's hand in marriage. So, Geeta going into a broken home is a major concern for her dad who is from a small village.
LOVED Tamanna in this film. (Happy Days From the director of Anand is her debut movie...a lovely film). She was a complete natural performer.
Songs were a major plus for me. Anandama and Panchirey being my favorites.
OT: Last weekend i saw 'Sasirekha Parinayam' with Genelia. Felt this was her best role after Bommarillu.


Anonymous said...

You meanie. Now I have more films I want to watch! If I go into this not expecting perfectness, I think I may really enjoy myself (did this with Bommarillu and it worked!). But then, who really knows for sure, after all?

veracious said...

Kiran - Yes, the comedy is probably lost in translation. Sometimes the comedians physical comedy makes up for us non-Indian-language-knowers but other times, it's just unfunny.

I definitely don't agree with Geeta's father (partly because my parents aren't together and that would mean I could never have a happy family life myself!) but of course these things do matter. Still, I don't think a broken home is better than a dysfunctional home where parents are still together. It was clear Siddhu's parents loved him fiercely even when they were apart. Of course, they also seemed pretty unhappy separate, which is an issue.

Rhilex - Lowering your expectations helps. It's definitely not a perfect movie, so going in expecting one would be a mistake.

ajnabi said...

I really enjoyed how sweet the relationships between Geeta and the men in her life were. She was very well-rounded in a way I haven't seen in heroines in a while. But oh. My. Gosh. The Haircut. And no facial hair. I know it was supposed to make him look younger but I thought they combined to make him look silly.

As far as the parental reunification plot goes, the way it was resolved made it okay in my eyes. (I totally just typed "maked." Clearly I have been watching too many subtitles.)

veracious said...

ajnabi, yes, all film makers should just realize that Siddharth is not going to look a day older than 25 unless you have him in "old makeup" ala Veer-Zaara or some such crap. No need to try and youthanize him (ha ha oh my clever puns) with silly hair cuts.

And I didn't really mean to say I had a problem with the storyline, it's not one I really wanted or needed to apply to real life anyways.

Anonymous said...

Ramya Krishnan as the mother did very well too. She is an excellent actress. Please watch her in the tamil movie "Padiappa" pitching in a good role against Rajnikanth.

The story does have some relevance in the cuurent social context in India. According to reports, there has been a 30% rise in divorce rates - i presume this is more in urban areas. The movie is highlighting one of the real social issues that young people are going to face vis a vis the majority in rural reas (ie families still intact)

In the end, Geeta's dad does realise Siddu's sincere efforts in trying to unite his parents and admitting he has failed as well as his love for his daughter. Both Siddarth and Geeta's father know about Sid's parents reconciling only in the last scene.