The Naga Shaurya and Ritu Varma starrer is a mature urban rom-com but not compelling enough
In the second half of director Lakshmi Sowjanya’s Varudu Kaavalenu, when the scene shifts from Hyderabad to Araku Valley for a wedding, new characters are introduced. One character does everything at a humanly impossible slow pace and another character wants everything to be lightning quick. The tussle between them elicits laughs, and we hear dialogues about ‘lag’ (a commonly used term to describe sluggish pace in Telugu film parlance).
It is perhaps the makers’ way of commenting on the tendency of the audience to crib about the pace slowing down and stating that one needs to watch a film patiently, allowing time for characters to introspect and resolve conflicts.
- Cast: Naga Shaurya, Ritu Varma, Murali Sharma
- Direction: Lakshmi Sowjanya
- Music: Vishal Chandrashekhar
Point noted. But the issue with Varudu Kaavalenu, more than its pace, is that after establishing a promising premise, it meanders.
Varudu Kaavalenu revolves around the strong-headed Bhoomi (Ritu Varma), who heads an eco-friendly start-up. The conversation at home invariably revolves around her wedding. She doesn’t like the idea of ‘pelli choopulu’ and her mother Prabhavathi (Nadiya) is the one doing the coffee shop rounds to meet grooms. At work, her stubborn and no-nonsense approach earns her the tag of ‘rakshasi’.
It’s a relatable story — of a woman constantly facing pressure to get married at what is considered to be the right age. The doting father, played by Murali Sharma, understands that marriage is a long-term commitment that the girl should be interested in, and not be compelled into.
Simultaneously, we are introduced to architect Akash (Naga Shaurya) who comes to India from Paris on a project and meets Bhoomi. It turns out that Bhoomi and Akash were friends in college. He is amiable, likes Bhoomi and takes her stern comments in his stride. The dialogues by Ganesh Ravuri are apt in articulating the characters’ thoughts and mixing in enough wit from the supporting cast — oh, there’s a big line-up. Vennela Kishore, Himaja, Satya, Praveen, Sapthagiri… each managing to evoke a few laughs but not having enough room to make a solid impression.
A few scenes stand out, like Murali Sharma explaining why parental concern should not boil down to getting the girl married in a rush, and Nadiya crossing paths with Shaurya and both lamenting about a stubborn woman.
The stage is set for a romance between two independent and mature leads. In real-life settings, one would expect conflicts arising from different points of view to life, career, family, or even personality traits. In this story, Bhoomi has a problem expressing her feelings and an even bigger problem in listening to the other person’s point of view. The more level-headed Akash is at a loss. But the reason for conflict stems from a story of unrequited love, told through an overdrawn flashback.
Before the two hit the common ground, the story is punctuated by one too many songs and comic episodes at a wedding. The production design and cinematography are aesthetic but the film gets boring and never recovers.
Ritu Varma and Naga Shaurya try to shoulder the film with charm and sincerity. It is one of the better roles given to Ritu in recent times and she carries it off gracefully. Shaurya appears at ease essaying the character of a dignified guy who yearns for love and is willing to wait for the tide to turn.
Varudu Kaavalenu works in parts. Had it been tightly edited, it might have been more compelling.