While Anand Deverakonda and Geet Saini are convincing, the strength of ‘Pushpaka Vimanam’ is its supporting cast of Naresh, Saanve Megghana and Sunil.

Pushpaka Vimanam poster
news Review Friday, November 12, 2021 - 18:18

Pushpaka Vimanam, written and directed by Damodara, begins with a great premise. Sundar (played by Anand Deverakonda) is a government school teacher who doesn’t know the outside world. He is also extremely shy and doesn’t know how to have a conversation with girls. He is about to get married to Meenakshi (played by Geet Saini). At the engagement ceremony, at a loss about what to say to Meenakshi he ends up talking about crows in his hometown. This awkward conversation is hilarious. There are several such funny scenes around the wedding ceremony in the beginning of the movie. But all that evaporates in the latter part, and it becomes hard to categorise Pushpaka Vimanam into a genre. I’m not sure if it is a comedy, romance or a thriller.

Sundar and Meenakshi get married in a rural town in Andhra Pradesh and move back to Hyderabad, where the former works as a Maths teacher. Though it is evident that Meenakshi is really not interested in him, she agrees to the marriage owing to pressure from her parents. She soon elopes with someone else and an embarrassed Sundar struggles to convince everyone that his marital life is going smoothly.

As someone coming from a small town brought up in a conservative family, Sundar cannot reveal the truth for fear of humiliation. The lies and drama to cover up the fact that Meenakshi has dumped him makes for several funny moments in the film. He cooks his own lunch and shares it with his colleagues claiming that it was cooked by his wife, keeps the door ajar and buys milk sneakily wearing bangles to convince the milkman, etc. He even goes to the extent of hiring an artiste to pretend to be his wife when he meets his colleagues.

The entire drama soon loses steam in the second act. Sundar, who keeps the secret to himself while continuing to search for his wife, lands in legal trouble. The police are not convinced with his answers and there is no alibi or evidence to prove his innocence. The investigation takes a serious turn and as it progresses, the film’s tone changes completely. Eventually, it becomes a thriller where Sundar ends up uncovering a crime. So, there is no consistency throughout.

The film is told entirely from Sundar’s perspective. Just like Sundar, who knows nothing about Meenakshi except that she is fair and conventionally beautiful, we also don’t know anything about her. She is used only as a tool to show how largehearted, innocent and awkward Sundar is. But still, Sundar shoots off serious dialogues about his love for her, without even knowing her. This makes the love story between Sundar and Meenakshi forced. You don’t even feel for them.

The strength of Pushpaka Vimanam is its supporting cast. Actors Naresh, Saanve Megghana and Sunil have been given good roles, and these artistes excel in them. The scenes between Naresh, the headmaster, and Sunil, the Sub-Inspector, are particularly hilarious.

The performances by Anand Deverakonda and Geet Saini are convincing. As the innocent and awkward teacher Anand fits the role well while Geet tries to give her best in the small role.

Although the premise gives ample scope for the film to go ballistic against the female lead and make misogynistic scenes or songs, the filmmaker has carefully avoided it. In the same manner, certainly he could have avoided homophobic jokes too. Hurting a marginalised community is not right just to entertain the ‘family’ audience.

Music is by Ram Miriyala, Sidharth Sadasivuni, Mark K Robin and Amit N Dasani. The music keeps the film upbeat. Cinematography is by Hestin Jose Joseph.

While I was leaving the theatre, I overheard a bunch of students saying: “First half was good, the second half didn’t live up to expectations.” Their judgement was really not off the mark. Nevertheless, Pushpaka Vimanam takes you on quite the fun journey with Sundar.

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