This film is Ram Pothineni’s best since 'Ready'.

Vunnadhi Okate Zindagi Review An enjoyable ride about friendship and more friendship
Flix Tollywood Friday, October 27, 2017 - 17:19

Ram’s career began in 2006 with the release of Devadasu. The zany action comedy found a place in Telugu cinema as one of the films that starred promising newcomers in the lead (the other star from that movie, Ileana, is in Bollywood currently).

Since Devadasu, Ram has headlined over a dozen films, but only a tiny percentage from his filmography is worth talking about. His films don’t set the box office on fire regularly (I’m looking at Nani, the interesting actor, who made his debut two years later with Ashta Chamma). Ram’s choices often baffle me (I still don’t understand why he did Hyper).

That said, his latest entertainer, Vunnadhi Okate Zindagi, is the movie which has put my maps of hope featuring Ram on the table again. His reunion with the Nenu.. Sailaja... maker, Kishore Tirumala, has given him a fresh leaf in winter.

When you have a story that unfolds in places around beaches and hill stations, you can expect the eyes of the beholder to dance a bit. And when the central theme stands in honour of friendship, there’s a lot to like in the movie. The last time I saw men bonding over conversations, fears, failures, and happiness was in Happy Days. Well, Happy Days was largely set in the time of college. VOZ, however, starts from the days of mimicking school teachers.

Sree Vishnu’s Vasu and Ram’s Abhi are characters we have grown up with. If one friend gets beaten up, the other friend takes it upon himself to unleash his wrath on the perpetrator. I have seen it happen in my school. Some people don’t give up on friends, no matter what. They trust each other so much that they sit across from a girl (Anupama Parameswaran) and tell her that they are in love with her. I saw the sign of good writing in this particular segment, as even here, they don’t sound like creeps.

This particular situation, which is funny and poignant, reminded me of the Tamil romantic-triangle Kadhal Desam (1996) where two friends (Abbas and Vineeth) walk away from the handshakes and hugs that held them together as they both fall for the same woman (Tabu). Have two decades changed our perception of love and friendship?

Another interesting dialogue that popped up at an important point was the one which involved Sree Vishnu’s outburst. Ram silently lets his tears do the talking while Sree Vishnu talks about what it means to be a friend to Ram’s father (played by Anand).

Anupama does justice to her role. Although the director makes Ram’s character seem like a larger-than-life friend by adding a twist to Anupama’s character, Maha, in the ending, it makes her look like a pushover. Of course, she plays a pushover from the beginning. She is the kind of girl who wants to cross the Lakshmana Rekha drawn by her father, but is afraid to do so until Abhi comes along with his cheers and guitars. Nevertheless, the “climax twist” takes away her voice. Couldn’t that have been avoided?

Should Ram have got the salute in the end just because he’s the hero of a Telugu film? Priyadarshi is a riot whenever he appears on screen. And Lavanya made me chuckle with her clueless face. The scene where Priyadarshi walks toward a girl to the music of “It’s a crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy feeling” and then gets his hands on a beer bottle is hilarious.

The whole episode featuring the cricket match between Priyadarshi and kids half his age in which he throws his bat on an old man’s head gets loud laughs. Anupama gets more screen space, and, Lavanya gets a bigger package as an actor, for her character is goofy – see how refreshingly she speaks about dosas and different types of chutney when she’s asked about repaying loans by her subordinate.

Kishore Tirumala’s Vunnadhi Okate Zindagi is an enjoyable ride with inflammable emotions like friendship, friendship, and friendship.

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