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Bhamakalapam 2 is a cleverly plotted heist comedy riding on strong performances and its believable execution, writes Srivathsan Nadadhur

Story:

Anupama, a popular Youtuber and a homemaker, shifts to a new house after an episode that threatens to derail the normalcy in her life. She turns a restaurateur, running an eatery with her house help Shilpa. While the duo enrol themselves in a cooking challenge, they find a dead body in their restaurant. How far will Anupama go to conceal the mystery and prove her innocence?

Review:

It’s quite surprising that a sequel to Bhamakalapam, aha’s crime comedy, was greenlit in the first place. The web film, which released in 2022, had an intriguing premise centred on a gossipy homemaker who bails herself out of a crime scene with her cheekiness. The film neither enjoyed mass popularity nor served its purpose as a lightweight crime comedy, struggling to be serious and funny.

Bhamakalapam 2, refreshingly, proves that filmmaker Abhimanyu Tadimeti learnt from his lessons and delivers a sequel that is quite aware of its bandwidth. The basic premise of both the films is similar – Anupama and Shilpa are entangled in a crime (linking them to their culinary ambitions) and need to risk their lives to escape unscathed.

The villainy in the sequel is more believable and established through multiple characters. The director doesn’t tinker with Anupama and Shilpa’s world – they continue to be middle-class in their sensibilities, vulnerable and respond shrewdly in tricky situations. Beyond them, the film now has an emerging actress, a corrupt businessman, a cop ignored by his peers besides several shady goons.

The motives of each of the characters are portrayed clearly and you make sense of their decisions. The film is all about a wily plot by miscreants to legally transport drugs in the guise of a culinary challenge. Anupama, even though helpless, tries hard to be righteous and discovers her penchant to handle a catch-22 situation. She spearheads a smartly plotted heist and is pushed to the brink.

The execution of the heist is believable – nothing far-fetched or exaggerated, but serious and complex enough to pose a challenge to Anupama and team – involving two small-time goons, an aged security guard and a maid. In between the madness, the director finds a way to squeeze in a stylish party number. The storytelling is straightforward and sensible, not dealing in broad strokes.

The film finds its mojo more so in the latter half, the screenplay is sharp and quite focused and peaks with the wildly-staged, enjoyable ending. Bhamakalapam 2 represents a brand of feminism that’s relatable through empowered characters like Anupama, Shilpa, Zubaida, who confront their problems fearlessly, take charge of their lives with their decisions.

The lifeline of the tale is in the underplayed camaraderie between Anupama and Shilpa, brought alive effortlessly by Priyamani and Sharanya Pradeep. Raghu Mukherjee’s neat portrayal of a flawed cop and the performances of Seerat Kapoor, Anuj Gurwara contribute to the authenticity in the execution. Brahmaji, Suresh Kumar and the supporting cast do what’s expected of them.

Verdict:

Bhamakalapam 2 is a rare female-centric Telugu crime comedy that’s funny, keeps you on your toes with believable characters. Abhimayu Tadimeti is indeed a promising find as a storyteller. Watch this heist comedy for its slick, witty screenplay, bolstered by strong performances from Priyamani, Sharanya Pradeep, Seerat Kapoor and Raghu Mukherjee.

Rating: 3/5

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