Tollywood
Sharwanand and Sai Pallavi star in lead roles in this Hanu Raghavapudi (of ‘Andala Rakshasi’ fame) film.

There is a lovely romcom called 50 First Dates where a guy has to make a lady fall in love with him every day because of her amnesia. No, no that’s not the story of this movie (you really thought my editor would let me give away a spoiler like that?!). The point I'm trying to make is that movies that bank on medical disorders should focus, they cannot afford to lose focus. Because, the premise itself is already confusing.

Movies evoke different responses in different people, at the risk of stating the obvious. We tend to judge movies based on multiple voices in our head and the director’s voice, not to mention our prejudices about the hero and heroine (non-existent if it is a Telugu movie fan). Good movies feel good because they surprise you, give you something novel to ponder about, an experience you want to talk about or share. Bad movies feel bad because you feel the movie didn’t keep the promise it made. Or worse still, delivered something a lot more torturous.

Sharwanand and Sai Pallavi, two actors who usually wouldn’t be seen in an outright bad movie, starring in a Hanu Raghavapudi (of Andala Rakshasi fame) picture is bound to build up high expectations. Blame movie lovers for that. Sans the expectation, Padi Padi Leche Manasu doesn’t do a terrible job. With the expectations, not to mention the wonderful soundtrack by Vishal Chandrashekhar, the movie doesn’t do justice though.

PPLM starts with a stalker Surya (Sharwanand) using his wit to convince the audience that it is possible for a seemingly bright medical student Vaishali (Sai Pallavi) to fall for him, a nobody (trivia – he is a football captain but she gets to know that much later), if he persists long enough. The moviemaker uses some impressive mushy sequences and fun to make us forget that what he is doing is a punishable offence. But, she, the daughter of a magistrate, falls for him, so we move on to their romance.

Turns out, Surya chased her but never intended to marry her because he has daddy-trauma. That subplot looks absolutely out of place. Especially when you see a talented actor like Raj Sampath appear in two scenes and do nothing but mouth inane dialogues, which shows that no one really understands that a writer is not a robot but a sensitive person.

Enter Kathmandu earthquakes, clichéd misunderstandings and Vaishali's unexpected big secret... I must stop here.

PPLM feels good in parts. It is enjoyable because of wonderful actors. Priyadarshi, Vennela Kishore and Sunil bring in some good laughs, and Murali Sharma, an underrated actor who has evolved well, does a fine job as Vaishali’s father. Sai Pallavi, who may soon be dubbed a director’s actor because of her versatility (not such a bad thing but will she be allowed to have fun?), is left confused partly because her character, the stronger of the two, hasn’t been scripted well. Sharwa, despite his charm, has been handed a role that gets into illogical, unexpected twists which haven’t been established well. As a result of the incoherence, the movie feels dragged on, leaving the audience confused.

PPLM could have been a beautiful movie, if the scriptwriting was done more carefully (if we had a dollar for every time an idea was ruined by bad implementation). One wishes movie-makers thought a little more about character establishment, so the viewers can relate better to the character arcs and their issues. Misplaced issues, and barely existent dialogue, ruin good love stories.

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.