Some movies, you walk out of the hall cursing the filmmakers. Some movies you walk out of the hall agonizing. With Hello Guru Prema Kosame, Trinadha Rao and Dil Raju almost pulled off a good romantic entertainer. Almost. And when it comes to art, the gap between almost and ‘has’ can be massive, as the movie demonstrates.
To say that Hello Guru Prema Kosame was a colossal bore would be unfair. It has some sparkling moments, as you would have come to expect from Dil Raju movies. A father (Prakash Raj) wants to give his daughter the best she deserves and hence, stereotypically fixes up her match with a ‘good guy’ he has been observing for two years – that’s not new. But, the movie carefully blends such a father’s character with a different angle.
The same person considers Sanju (Ram), a friend’s son living with them, his own friend. When he realises Sanju loves his daughter, he doesn’t let the father dominate the friend, but rather tries to see both the sides. It could have been a brilliant setup for a good romantic emotional drama. Except, it is not. And it isn’t, because the screenplay is patchy at best, and wayward at its worst. The movie neither establishes the character of the guy who loves a woman and yet, doesn’t want to hurt her father (also his friend), nor does it create the emotional depth required to believe in a character like that assayed by Prakash Raj.
The movie was short enough to easily indulge in a few more minutes of character-building, but everything happens in a hurry. The movie is a bundle of contradictions, with some brilliant moments sprinkled here and there. There are some really funny scenes that make you laugh despite yourself. But, a movie cannot be just a series of funny skits put together, when it is pretending to be a romantic entertainer.
The makers especially forget, almost a pattern in Telugu movies, that one cannot sacrifice a hero’s credibility for the sake of a few laughs. A hero, depicted as a lazy vagabond, cannot realistically be impressive enough for a woman of high maturity to fall for him; head over heels, that too. Some reason? You do not want to see onscreen fathers, who are loving and adorable, decide which guy would be right for their daughter, even if such a father apologises to her once he fixes up the relationship. You do not want two leading men in the movie eat up the entire screen-space and reduce the leading lady, in this case Anu (Anupama Parameswaran) to a caricature, especially when the entire story revolves around her.
If Anu’s only reason to love Ram was the latter’s love for his dad (Sanju takes up an IT job in the city reluctantly only to keep his dad happy, as he confides in her), you cannot end the movie without a single emotional moment/memory between Sanju and his dad. Also, if you build an entire storyline showing how much Anu loved her dad, you expect her to confide as much in her dad as she does in the man she thinks she loves. To top it all, the movie uses a mannequin in the form of Pranitha who likes Sanju for no apparent reason (unless a few wisecracks were enough for her to fall for someone) only to be dejected when Sanju realises a thing or two, out of nowhere, about what his heart really wants.
The scenes between Pranitha and Ram were funny though, almost as if it was a side-track short-film intended to make people laugh. All these tropes make the movie an inconsistent affair. Prakash Raj as an actor sleepwalks through non-challenging roles such as these which cash in on his image and not on his acting skills. Ram tries to be cute, as always, but maybe it is time for him to take a relook at his onscreen image. Anupama's role sounds good on paper, but she was shortchanged, left high and dry with neither good dialogues, nor good scenes - a classic example of a lack of empathy on the part of the script-writer.
The comedy is the saving grace, and most of it is sans obscenity, although not all of it is without the usual stereotypical way of looking at things. Yet, as a package it doesn’t give you enough to justify investing a couple of hours on it, for stand-up comedy acts are aplenty and that’s not what we watch movies for.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.