Mem Famous is simple story, perhaps way too simple with a whole lot of Telangana flavour and youthfulness that is relatable on many levels writes Manjulatha Kalanidhi
Pakka Telangana flavour is perhaps the only thing that works for Mem Famous. And perhaps a bit of reliability. The #MadeInTelangana movie helmed by local porodu Sumanth Prabhas chronicles the rather mundane lives of three friends in Bandla Narsampalli village in Telangana until they become famous with their own YouTube channel that puts the spotlight on this sleepy village. It succeeds in making us get nostalgic of our ancestral village back home, but doesn’t exactly keep us away from checking our mobile phones frequently if you know what I mean.
The first half of the movie is about three wayward friends who live off their parents, are keen to pursue love, drink up to their gills when a random uncle throws a party and pass their time dreaming about a bright future. So what we have is the shenanigans of local youth – movies, YouTube, girls, jobs, disappointments and constant nagging by parents to do something worthwhile in life. The trio manages to start a tent house – named Famous Tent house and make some money. But things go wrong and a fire accident wipes out their entire makeshift office and even the money they made. In the second half, they hit rock bottom, with a debt of Rs 2 lakh breathing down their necks. They try out multiple things to eke out a living and make their parents proud by standing on their own feet, but nothing works out. One fine day, they hit upon the idea of making YouTube videos as that seems to be the only thing that won’t cost them money and will earn them back the money they lost. So off they go with a camera in hand filming the joys and problems of their village. One of their realistic videos goes viral and catches the attention of the local MLA who funds them with money which helps them to repay a big debt. All is well that ends well with each of the friends finding their partner in the village. Mem Famous ends on a hopeful note that no matter how bad things are, one must never give up.
The movie Mem Famous rides on sentiment – of poverty, of rejections, of love failures, etc. While the first hour and the last half hour are gripping, the rest of the movie lacks pace and in some places, lacks gravitas and depth. The scenes that stand out are their hangouts with Anji mama over drinks in the wee hours, the engagement scene of the girlfriend of one of the boys; the fire accident that turns their lives upside down and finally, the birthday scene. The slang and dialect of the movie are spot on and is refreshing to note how the Telangana language has become mainstream now. Adding a heart-touching folk song by Goreti Venkanna in the last 30 minutes of the movie elevates the movie by several notches. However, their way to resolve all their problems by filming viral videos is shown in a rather simplistic way. Try asking YouTubers what effort takes to make one viral video!
Infusing the movie with a bit more humour may have worked, considering the cast is young and resort to sarcasm to convey their thoughts. Mem Famous is a sincere attempt to make a good movie. It has its moments, but it doesn’t really engulf you with any particular emotion as such.