Upendra is back on the silver screen after two long years with I Love You Nanne Preethse and he has teamed up with R Chandru, well-known for tragic love stories. Upendra, at least in his films, is a firm believer that true love doesn’t exist at all. When the duo collaborated, for obvious reasons, expectations were extremely high. But, can high expectation and pressure lead to a disaster? Well, that sounds true in the case of I Love You.
Santhosh Narayan (Upendra) is a billionaire. He is married to Gowri (Sonu Gowda), a dutiful and ideal homemaker and they have a child. But Santhosh is not in love with Gowri. He has everything - money, name, fame, ideal wife and a near-perfect family, but he's not a happy man. Reason - his first love or the only true love of his life Dharmika (Rachita Ram) is unattainable to him.
One day, Dharmika calls him from Mumbai and they decide to meet in Bengaluru. What happens when these two people who had differing ideas about love and sex meet?
Speaking of performances, Upendra has tried to do something new while keeping his feet deeply rooted in his previous films. He looks aged and just doesn’t fit the bill as a college boy or as a multi-millionaire. Rachita Ram looks like fabulous throughout the film and has delivered a fine performance. She comes across as a natural actor. Sonu Gowda is the upgraded version of Rakta Kanneeru’s Chandra. She is draped in a cotton saree and is smeared with turmeric on her cheeks to reiterate that she is a "countrywoman".
Bramhanadam as a hotel server appears in two scenes and is wasted. Comedians PD Satish Chandra and Vijay Chandoor play Uppi’s college friends. They have nothing much to do except walk around the hero all the time. There is no comedy either except a double-entendre selfie joke, which again is a WhatsApp forward.
Upendra has his own fan following and he has carved a niche for himself. Audiences watch his movies expecting brilliant twists and of course, some entertainment. But there is neither in I Love You. If you take out Uppi, I Love You is a very ordinary story, slightly inspired by the Suriya-Jyothika-Bhoomika Chawla Sillunu Oru Kaadhal. There is nothing new in the story but the narration is tight, which makes the movie watchable.
The film opens with scenes from several tragic love stories starting from the 1960s. Here too, mind you, most films shown are those in which men sacrifice everything so that women can have their happily ever after days with another man. And while it is commendable to see the team paying tribute to all the actors, it was surprising to see Ravichandran missing from the credits.
The prime premise of I Love You is to establish two sexist philosophies – women fall in love only with well-settled rich guys and women always break the relationship and can forget men easily. Men, on the other hand, ‘build a temple for their first love inside their hearts and perform pooja and prays for them every day’. These exact dialogues are repeated at least five times throughout the film.
The film lacks logic in most of the scenes. While we agree that it is mindless to expect logic in star films, I Love You, belongs to Uppi, who is known for logical films more than anything else. We are often told that Santhosh married Gowri only because that was his father Narayan’s (Honnavalli Krishna) last wish. But later it is shown that Narayan dies before Santhosh arrives at the spot.
Santhosh is a multi-millionaire, who travels in choppers and buys exclusive diamond rings worth Rs 4.5 crore, but wears clothes from a very local brand (Biba) that exclusively sells women’s clothes. Well, at least take off the labels, please! College is filled with Manforce and Acne Star film ads. Yes, we understand the product placement, but isn’t it a bit too much to put it up in college? Gowri is often shown as doing household chores. Multi-millionaires with five secretaries can’t afford to hire help? Speaking of no logic, Upendra’s entry scene takes the cake.
Dr Kiran Thotambyle’s music goes unnoticed except when Dharmika I Love You starts out of nowhere every half an hour. The makers have tried to replicate KKKKKiran from Preethse with Dharmika but have failed miserably. Songs are below average. The controversial song Maatanaadi Maayavaade in Armaan Mallik’s voice is shot very well and Rachita Ram needs to be appreciated for her boldness.
If you think Karan Johar lives in a parallel universe when it comes to props, we introduce you to Upendra. College and classrooms – filled with students making love on benches and in shrubs, colourful luxury cars that get traded with the villain later. House – a big penthouse with exclusive spotlights and telescope in bedroom pointed towards the wrong direction.
I Love You is a clichéd love story filled with Uppi’s philosophies sans any logic. If you aren’t an Uppi fan, you can give this one a miss.
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.