‘Bheeshma’ review: This Nithiin starrer is part hilarious, part pretentious

The ease with which director Venky Kudumula created the jokes in the no-holds-barred comedy scenes doesn’t translate to the seriousness needed for the rest of the themes.
‘Bheeshma’ review: This Nithiin starrer is part hilarious, part pretentious
‘Bheeshma’ review: This Nithiin starrer is part hilarious, part pretentious
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In Bheeshma, the protagonist is a single, extremely desperate guy (insert Distracted Boyfriend meme) who introduces himself as a meme-maker (only later do we realise, he makes extraordinarily bad memes). But let’s not worry about what our protagonist does – he is a degree dropout too if you were wondering – because like we all know the director didn’t rope in a brilliant actor like Rashmika Mandanna (who plays Chaitra) just so she could investigate vegetables in an organic farming company.

Like in Geeta Govindam, Chaitra is a pretty trope, and her job is to tell the audience again and again and again (phew, insert ‘It’s been 84 years’ meme) how lucky it is for a woman to be loved by someone like Bheeshma (Nithiin), because he would go to any extent for the woman he loves (insert Baby Yoda puppy eyes meme).

Doesn’t matter if he can’t stop staring at her waist in the middle of an office, or if he enjoys staring at her uncomfortable self in a cab despite her pleas, or lies to her about being an ACP when he is only an unpaid driver. All of these are just expressions of his love. And yet, she falls for him (that’s a writer offering all the wasted young men hope of the type even Shawshank Redemption couldn’t give you) because she overhears him say that “young people shouldn’t be judged just because they are hanging out aimlessly with each other”, blah blah. She also sees him fight a dozen people, and that’s impressive too.

In the end she just blurts out the three-word mantra, because otherwise the story wouldn’t go ahead, would it? And if you gasp at that scene, saying ‘Whaaaa’, it’s your fault (insert Witch Mountain The Rock driving meme). Why did you even bring your IQ with you to the movie theatre? What were you expecting? A movie on the next agricultural revolution in India and how one man saves the few seeds frozen in an old man’s attic, seeds that can save a country from the upcoming famine? No way!

Amidst this romance, we see a tug of war between an organic farming giant, Bheeshma, and a chemical-driven, high-yield hybrid technology ushered in by a smart-looking man called Raghavan (Jisshu Sengupta). The movie is a clash between Raghavan’s wicked brain and Bheeshma. How did Bheeshma even enter that high-stakes game – because of the Chairman of the Bheeshma group of industries (Anant Nag), another classic cliché because what’s the formula for a guy who builds a multi-million dollar 50-year-old organic farming company – he has to act and sound old, he is single, always holding a fat book, sometimes a mythological one, and he acts as if he knows what’s going to unfurl, simple.

That chairman decides to make the younger Bheeshma the CEO. Why? (insert ‘Kabhi kabhi lagta hai apun hi bhagwan hai’ meme). Well, because the younger Bheeshma is a good guy, the kind who will help even someone he doesn’t know and will go to any extent for the woman he loves. A sage-like chairman digging into the love interest of a guy but not into his otherwise unproductive lifestyle is quite funny in its own right.

Exactly when you are tired of all the irrationality the story presents, you get the punchline. There is a simple explanation for all of it – Bheeshma is just a lucky guy. And the villain (Raghavan) just admits in the end that it is okay to clash with a powerful guy, but hard to clash with a lucky guy. See, simple. No need to get a degree, no need to be smart, no need to be wise or qualified. Just accidentally stumble into all the right places.

What works for Bheeshma though is the comedy. The movie runs on a very simple formula – joke, joke, cringeworthy-scene about Bheeshma’s desire for a girlfriend and later his horniness for Chaitra, unnecessary song, fight, joke, joke, some gyaan, cringeworthy-scene… you know the drill! Almost every couple of moments in the movie there is a fun punchline that gets you laughing and you forget the cringe before and after.

Before you know, the movie is done and we see a guy who is pretty much good for nothing get a dream woman, a dream company, and an IPS officer for a father-in-law who is apparently called stupid by Bheeshma’s dad (insert Sarcastic Willy Wonka meme). I couldn’t help but relate to Vennela Kishore’s character Parimal, whose life takes a bad turn because of Bheeshma, and who returns with a vengeance only to find that Bheeshma is invincible. Vennela Kishore has the best lines in the movie and along with Raghu Babu gives us some hilarious moments. Vennela Kishore spends the entire movie looking frustrated, and all he can do is wonder and crack self-deprecating jokes (insert Dancing Baby meme).

The movie does have some funny sequences like Bheeshma chatting with Chaitra’s father (Sampath Raj) thinking it is her. But all the fun makes you wonder if the story was unnecessarily rehashed. What probably started out as the story of a ‘lucky guy’ probably felt too flimsy to the makers. How do you beef up any non-existent Telugu movie plot these days – bring in the farmers, show their pain. Lo and behold, we have meaningful cinema (insert Spongebob Nobody Cares meme).

Sai Sriram’s camera work here has to come for a little praise as he fills the whole movie with bright light and greenery is never too far away in any frame, giving the movie a feel-good touch-up that is needed. And then to justify it, we’ve got to have a couple of fights. They are hyper-unrealistic but hey, don’t you whistle when Mahesh Babu or Dhanush bash people, hundreds of them. Why so biased against Nithiin bashing them, ya?

Rashmika, who has featured in a lot of memes lately after her role in Sarileru, yet again plays an insipid character that is pointless in the larger scheme of things. Chaitra falls for a guy who falls for her because he is single – that’s the summary of their love story. Rashmika’s fine comic timing blends into the movie’s comedy sub-plots, but really, all we are seeing is a talented actor ground to dust. Sampath Raj is wasted yet again, and barring a couple of now-routine dad jokes Naresh leaves no mark either. Anant Nag, a doyen of Indian theatre, plays his role with elegance. Unfortunately, it is hard to say his character or the dialogues given to him were remotely close to elegance.

You get the sense that director Venky Kudumula and his group of writers, if they existed, wanted to make it all sound intelligent and wise, but the ease with which they create the jokes in the no-holds-barred comedy scenes doesn’t translate to the seriousness needed for the rest of the themes. In the end the movie felt like you were watching a standup comedy act on YouTube interspersed with unwanted ads with good-looking actors and jingles that won’t register in your head.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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