Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi Review: Director Avasarala Srinivas uses non-linear narrative to tell a story of two friends turned lovers, which works in parts, writes Rajeshwari Kalyanam
(PAPA) –story of a certain boy and a certain girl starts on a tender note – when this boy Sanjay (Naga Shaurya) and girl – Anupama (Malvika Nair) meet in a restaurant in the UK owned by the boy or rather this grown- up man – Sanjay. Evidently it isn’t their first meeting –and in crafting that one scene, the director of the film Avasarala Srinivas establishes the relationship between them – deep love they once shared, that they still have feelings for each other, and the girl’s anger dominates any other feelings she has had for him.
Non-linear narrative is used to go back and forth the decade of their friendship that begins on the first day of Sanjay’s college when he meets Anupama, his senior who saves him from ragging. They continue to be friends when they are in London for their Masters as well. Their friendship blossoms into love when they begin to live together and look forward to a life together. However, their relationship goes sour when Sanjay starts ignoring Anupama – which is also the moment when you feel a certain disconnect in the screenplay – which until now has been taking the audiences on an emotional ride (in the director’s words) an experimentative treatment that defies genre and cinematic indulgences.
Anupama and Sanjay fall apart and go their own way, however both aren’t able to give a closure to their relationship and this prevents them from committing to anyone else, until finally Anupama agrees to marry Giri (Avasarala), who has always loved her. It is at this point in her life that she meets Sanjay again – which brings us back to the first scene of the film.
The film is about how the two lovers always drift apart, and how they come together in the end. It is about their journey, their thoughts that drive their actions and how one can complicate their lives by messing up their relationships. The director does say that this is a genre that’s bereft of cinematic elements. Yet, a love story when narrated in whatever way, has to be relatable to the audience on some level so that they stay invested in it. ‘Phalana Abbayi Phala Ammayi’ has many memorable moments and scenes that touch you emotionally and also through the craft of film making, not to mention performances by the lead pair, which are a major plus for the film. And, the humour does find its way in organically as is the style of the director. However, PAPA, somehow falls short of establishing the much needed connect with the audience, who are distracted from the narration on several counts.
The amazing background score and songs of Kalyani Malik do help in the story telling to some extent and in maintaining the mood. His ‘Kanula Chatu Meghama’ haunts you when you come out of the theatre, which is perhaps the only thing that stays with you – which is also the undoing of the experiment that Avasarala indulged in. PAPA does not have much to take back home in terms of experience,
Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi Review