Sandalwood
Though there is nothing special about the storyline, it is worth a watch for Srujan Lokesh’s comic timing and the execution of the subject by director Tejaswi.
Worth a watch

There’s a very natural curiosity when it comes to film titles, especially when it is picked from the lyrics of a legendary song. Ellidde Illi Tanaka had built that curiosity amongst cine-goers right from when it was announced, because of its title, of course! The romantic comedy, which might have well been a prolonged daily soap, has been boxed into a movie and well, it seems to have worked in favour of the filmmaker. The lead actor Srujan Lokesh, synonymous with comedies and possessing an amazing sense of timing, and a title like Ellidde Illi Tanaka, the movie ought to live up to its lofty expectations, right? Does the movie hit the right notes? Let’s find out!

Surya (Srujan Lokesh) is bundled off to London by his parents (Tara and Avinash) in his childhood, just to make sure he doesn’t become one of those unworthy street Romeos due to inappropriate company – his friends. However, his upbringing in London for more than 15 years doesn’t change him much.

An opportunity coupled with his love for India and affection towards his friends brings him back home. Casually taking up a challenge thrown by a friend to attend an interview leads Surya to visit a company where he meets his dream girl Nandini (Hariprriya). Surya puts his best foot forward and secures a job just to pursue his lady love, in the process fabricating a web of lies.

Nandini, who is shown to be a hard taskmaster and a stickler for honesty, is unaware of Surya’s fabrications and is all set to marry him. What happens when she is confronted with reality on the day of their wedding? Whether Nandini ditches Surya or goes against her principles and marries the man who has told her everything but the truth forms the rest of the plot.

What makes Ellidde Illi Tanaka attention-grabbing – despite its lame storyline – is the fact that it stars Srujan Lokesh, the Talking Star who has been a part of several laughter riots in the past. Though there is nothing special about the storyline, the execution of the subject by director Tejaswi is worth a watch. While the first half is all about the Talking Star mouthing one-liners and a series of sexist comedy scenes, similar to what he does in his TV show Maja Talkies, the second half is set around the wedding and has a tinge of emotion and romance.

Though Srujan grew up watching his wonderful actor-parents work and picking up the nuances of acting as a child, he made several wrong choices as a lead actor which led to some dud movies early in his career. Later, he found a career on the small screen and went on to become a household name. Looks like the break he took before doing this movie has worked to his advantage. Though he carries forward his TV image on the big screen, there is a lot for Srujan to still learn and demonstrate as an actor if he has to propel himself into Sandalwood’s big league. In fact, Hariprriya, who has delivered a string of hits in 2019, has been magnanimous in providing a platform to Srujan to stage a comeback to movies. The actor excels in her role as Nandini and her performance is one of the highlights of the movie. There is no doubt that 2019 is a landmark year for Hariprriya.

The supporting star cast consisting of Sadhu Kokila, Sihi Kahi Chandru, Giri, Taranga Vishwa and Tabala Nani though have very little to do, they seem more like props for the movie. HC Venu’s cinematography and Arjun Janya’s music help the movie reach a notch higher.

While Tejaswi has concentrated on providing sufficient laughter and fun in the 2 hour-18 minute movie, logic seems to have been thrown out the window at certain points.

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.