The film, starring Akhil Akkineni and Pooja Hegde in the lead, tries to endorse live-in relationships in a subtle manner and succeeds.

Most Eligible Bachelor poster
Flix Review Saturday, October 16, 2021 - 11:34
Worth a watch

Director Bommarilu Bhaskar’s Most Eligible Bachelor, starring Pooja Hegde and Akhil Akkineni, is a take on the patriarchal Indian arranged marriage system — where two individuals who barely know each other get married, and sometimes, regret it. Through the story of Harsha (played by Akhil Akkineni) and Vibha (Pooja Hegde), Bhaskar has definitely made a strong critique against the convention of the Indian marriage system. He endorses the idea of a live-in relationship and premarital sex, but since his film is marketed as a ‘family entertainer’, he doesn’t explicitly spell it out.

Bhaskar masks this by saying that a great relationship requires not just love, but ‘romance.’ Though Bhaskar has compromised on discussing the taboo topic of live-in relationships owing to his self-made restrictions of making the film a family drama, he has nevertheless been able to show the toxic side of how women bear the brunt of arranged marriages.

In the film, Harsha, who resides in the USA, is the “most eligible bachelor” because of his qualifications and wealth — but he has a strange fascination for the Indian way of getting an arranged marriage. Vibha, who is a standup comedian in Hyderabad is against this idea. Her comedy routine includes jokes about marriage. Harsha is certain of what he wants in life and what he is looking for in a prospective bride, while Vibha has progressive ideas of getting married only after getting to know the other person really well. These two individuals meet and there is a conflict between their ideas. The rest of the story is about which one is right.

Most Eligible Bachelor is made with the same template as the successful Bommarillu — the director’s debut film and probably the most memorable one of his career. Bhaskar’s desperation to deliver a successful film after a string of forgettable ones is evident with this.

Most Eligible Bachelor works well because it is not about just two individuals with different ideas, but other characters are also given importance. The rest of the cast includes Murali Sharma, Aamani, Vennela Kishore, Pragathi, Jaya Prakash, Abhay Bethiganti, Get up Srinu and Sudigaali Sudheer, among others.

However, at times, the writing feels lazy. Sample this: “The hero is among sheep because he has a herd mentality”. Also the repetition of romantic scenes involving the Durgam Cheruvu lake in Hyderabad becomes annoying after a point. 

When the movie starts to progress at a dull pace, comedian Vennela Kishore tries to salvage it, and he does a good job of it. But it is unfortunate that the makers had to resort to jokes with homophobic undertones to entertain the audience. A supposedly progressive film talking about modern ideas, that still chooses to evoke laughter in this way, makes it clear that Telugu cinema still has a long way to go. 

Akhil as Harsha delivers a decent performance as the naive office-going man who has no clue about himself. But Pooja Hegde seems like a misfit because of her poor lip-sync and her unconvincing performance. However, cinematographer Pradeesh M Varma has given a rich and upbeat look to Most Eligible Bachelor, and Gopi Sundar has delivered good music for the film.

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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