Though Srinivas Avasarala’s film is about Anupama (Malavika Nair) and Sanjay’s (Naga Shaurya) love story, you hardly know anything about them. The characters are written poorly and without any depth.

Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi review Malavika Nair is wasted in this boring drama
Flix Review Friday, March 17, 2023 - 18:52
Save your money

Srinivas Avasarala’s Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi looks like a Quentin Tarantino film – divided into chapters, but there ends the resemblance. The film opens in 2010 in the United Kingdom and the chapters begin from the year 2000 when Sanjay (Naga Shaurya) and Anupama (Malavika Nair) are students in an engineering college. Unlike most films with star heroes, there is no introduction shot for the male lead or the female lead; they are introduced in the most mundane manner and sadly this approach extends to the entire film.

The chapters from the year 2000 to 2010 proceed chronologically in the most boring manner. Perhaps, realising that presenting a story in this fashion without any excitement or tension – the elements essential for good storytelling – is drab, Avasarala cuts back and forth with the narration haphazardly, but the story hardly has any emotion to make you sit up. Unlike a Tarantino film, there is no tension or mystery, so the chapter-wise story does not engage the audience.

The film has an interesting premise. Anupama is Sanjay’s senior in college and they have a strange power equation – the opposite of Arjun Reddy. They become friends, end up doing Master’s together in the UK, and eventually become partners. The couple getting into a live-in relationship is done in the most delightful way. There is no drama or scandalising this event of two adults figuring out life together. But these are the only redeeming qualities of the film, which otherwise honestly looks extremely amateurish. It is hard to believe that Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi was made by an experienced director.

The writing is insipid with bland characters. The extremely poor production does not allow the audience to get into the world of Anupama and Sanjay. In a particular scene, when there is a dispute between Anupama and Sanjay, the editor uses jump cuts apparently to elevate the drama, but the jerky camera reduces the impact and makes it annoying to watch.

Though the roughly 1.5-hour film is about Anupama and Sanjay’s love story, you hardly know anything about them. The characters are written poorly and without any depth. They also have two friends who take up ample screen time but have zero impact.

In this superficial film, only Malavika performs with absolute conviction. She nails the role of the outgoing Anupama. Naga Shaurya feels inadequate and does not give a convincing performance. The film’s director, Srinivas Avasarala, also makes an appearance in the film in a crucial role. But there is no closure for his character. Similarly, Megha Chaudhary plays another important role, but she disappears as randomly as her entry.

There are some funny dialogues and scenes, but they do not compensate for the largely uninspiring story which moves at snail’s pace.

One scene that I found unintentionally hilarious was Anupama’s farewell party, which Sanjay neglects and instead goes for lunch with another person. These scenes are cut parallelly. At the party, a white classmate tells a joke about how an Indian prisoner delays his execution by asking for strawberries for his last meal, and we’re shown Sanjay being offered strawberries at the lunch. I did not know what to make of it, but whatever the symbolism, it is not worth scratching your head for such a boring film.

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 producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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