Next Enti is directed by Kunal Kohli, the man who made Fanaa and Hum Tum, trailblazers in romantic drama genre. So, the expectations were high. What the makers didn't account for was the sensibilities of the Telugu audience.
A movie based completely on dialogue, breaking the fourth wall, reasoning through relationships and trying to evolve as people - these are strange territories. Next Enti ends up looking like the guy who has no clue where he is, but won't ask for directions. With Tamannaah (Tammy) and Sundeep Kishen (Sanju) at the helm, the movie takes a look at the average couple pretending to be above average. The guy is horny, and six months (wow, six months must be a long time!) into the relationship, he is disappointed he is not getting much action. They break up over this.
Tammy, brought up by a very kind, liberal and compassionate single father (Sarath Babu, who looks cool in his new styling) has a daddy hangover, searching for the perfect man. She does find a divorced, affluent Krish, but his baggage is something she doesn't want to adopt. Weird huh? Two stark opposite reasons to break up - and then she moves on to explore love. Sanju stumbles back into her life and they try - to bore the audience even more.
Next Enti is beautifully shot. That's where the positives end. The dialogue is dry, bereft of wit. Movies with such narratives work, if there is wit and sensibility in the dialogue. But, for a dialogue-centric movie, the makers invested very little on what the characters mouth - most of it cliched. You can almost visualise a male writer penning dialogues for the female characters, the kind of dialogues they want their women to be mouthing.
The music doesn't touch you, the characters don't enchant you, and the storyline - well that doesn't exist. The obvious impatience of an audience born and brought up on masala movies, with item songs, gets you more, as they break the seriousness with inane jokes - something movie-makers in Telugu must account for.
All in all, the movie is like its characters - confused, speaking too much and yet, thinking too little, and not sure who their target audience is. While the cinematography and styling of the movie can be lauded (pretty frames, trendy costumes), the movie doesn't know what exactly to do with the caricatures of characters it presents.
These are urban dwellers who are supposed to have urban problems. But, work is never part of any of their discussions. Neither is money a concern for them. Sundeep Kishan and Tamannaah are both trying to wade through unfamiliar waters - holding the attention of the viewers through just dialogue delivery. Neither of them excels in it, but to a great extent the fault is not all theirs.
The movie is short (a saving grace), and yet, many scenes feel like they dragged on for eternity. This is because some of them feel like extempore scenes, minus spontaneity. That hurts the narration. And when the audience switches off, it is hard to get this kind of a twisted message through. If you had a message in the first place!
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.