Family Star review: Vijay Deverakonda-Mrunal film is a headache-inducing watch

Family Star review: Vijay Deverakonda-Mrunal film is a headache-inducing watch

Vijay Deverakonda, who aced the role of a simpleton from a middle-class family in one of his early films Pelli Choopulu, struggles in Family Star.
Family Star(1.5 / 5)

In a striped t-shirt and lungi, Govardhan (Vijay Deverakonda) jumps over a car and outruns women to stand in a queue to procure subsidised onions at a government ration shop. At the shop, he delivers punch dialogues about how all vegetables should be subsidised, especially in the context of price rises. Through this director, Parasuram Petla establishes the economic background of Govardhan and his family, thus setting the premise for his film Family Star.

Family Star stars actors Vijay Deverakonda, Mrunal Thakur, Divyansha Kaushik, Rohini Hattangadi, Jagapathi Babu, Abhinaya, and Vasuki, among others. Govardhan is an architect, a middle-class man, taking care of his entire joint family. He believes that he must take care of his brother and children, and their grandmother, and is content with what he does. But as fate would have it, Indu (Mrunal Thakur) comes into Govardhan’s life. She introduces herself as a scholar of anthropology from the University of Hyderabad and insists that she wants to be a tenant in Govardhan’s house. 

Meanwhile, many women hit on Govardhan but do not like the baggage of family that he comes with. But Indu loves this aspect of him and admires the way he treats his family. Just when Goverdhan intends to propose marriage, he realises that he has been a ‘subject’ of her research. As wild as that sounds, all of this happens in this fictional world created by director Parasuram Petla. (Wonder why no assistant director interjected Parasuram during the brainstorming!)

From this revelation onwards, the entire film becomes too ridiculous for the viewer to even care about what happens next. 

Unlike the heroes from the family dramas produced by Supergood Films’ RB Choudary, Parasuram Petla lionises the ‘middle class’ lead. Devarkonda’s Govardhan normalises violence for children, asking them to react harshly if someone harasses their family. “Observe this carefully. Nobody is going to teach you this in school,” he tells them before proceeding to bash goons. If you are thinking how horribly wrong it is to traumatise children by forcibly making them watch a terrifying episode involving blood and weapons, Parasuram has more in store for you. In retaliation to a goon asking for sexual favours from his sister-in-law, Govardhan threatens to sexually assault the women in his family. Yes, you read it right. It becomes impossible to watch Family Star without squirming in embarrassment. How is Govardhan wearing a Birkenstock sandal but filling petrol for only Rs 23 per day? (Is that even possible?)

Scene from Family Star
Scene from Family Star

Parasuram’s laziness is evident from his lack of research. The writing is really poor, and except for Govardhan’s character, nobody is given any significance. Even with the lead character, his internal struggles are never shown, which makes it impossible to root for him. Govardhan’s elder brother becomes an alcoholic and stops taking care of his family following an insensitive remark by Govardhan. The fallout is not staged well and neither is the resolution to it. 

Parasuram struggles to take the story forward in the second half. It is as if he is caught in a death spiral. The logic is thrown out of the window. He tries absurd gimmicks to save the plot by changing the dynamics of the relationship between Indu and Govardhan. 

There are hardly any funny moments in the film. All one gets is some cuss words meant as a joke (If I am being honest I laughed at the title of the thesis). Even a talent like Vennela Kishore cannot distract the audience and offer solace. The film’s music is another letdown. Gopi Sundar fails to impress with his background score and songs.

Vijay Deverakonda, who aced the role of a simpleton from a middle-class family in one of his early films Pelli Choopulu, struggles in Family Star. Mrunal barely has a role. We cannot blame her for giving stock expressions.  

When Vijay Deverakonda’s Arjun Reddy was severely criticised for justifying abuse as a form of love, director Sandeep Reddy Vanga infamously said that partners should have the liberty to slap each other. “If you can't slap, if you can't touch your woman wherever you want, you can't kiss, you can't use curse words, then I don't see emotions there,” he had said. Parasuram takes a leaf out of Sandeep’s book and believes that all conflicts in a relationship should be settled by slapping each other. 

Overall, Vijay Deverakonda’s Family Star is headache-inducing if not triggering.  

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.

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