This time I am back with another edition of The Indian Kaleidoscope, where I traverse into my first Telugu film. Although Telugu is unfamiliar to me, this is not my first Telugu film but rather a more recent one. The other ones I have watched are in my drafts as posts in the making!
Arjun Reddy as a whole was a movie that tested the Indian audience itself, in my opinion. How? I will tell you how.
Country of origin: India
Directed by: Sandeep Vanga
Written by: Sandeep Vanga
Starring: Vijay Devarakonda, Shalini Pandey
Released: 25 August 2017
Duration: 186 minutes
Arjun Reddy, the titular character is a final year medical student who has some serious anger management issues. He often argues and literally loses his temper with everyone, even with his professors. His college juniors see him as a bully. One day on a football match, he loses his temper. The head dean at his college informs his that he must either give an apology letter to stay in college, or be suspended. Arjun Reddy with his predictable temper, decided to be suspended, until-
he spots first year medical student, Preethi Shetty. He gives the apology letter and stays in college, following Preethi around. Initially she is terrified of him, and sees him as a college bully, but eventually the two fall in love, deeply. They share a very intimate relationship, which grows even more deeply despite Arjun going far away for his post graduate studies. After his higher studies, he comes over to Preethi’s home only to be kicked out by her father.
Her father opposes their marriage stating that they belong to different castes. Arjun loses his cool, and asks Preethi to throw her family and everything away, and come away with him. At having to make such a huge decision so suddenly, Preethi deliberates, which makes him lose his temper even more. He goes back home, overdoses on drugs, and is unconscious for a few days. When he wakes up, he realizes Preethi is getting married to someone her parents approve of on that day itself.
After that he goes on a rather violent mood, he consumes alcohol and smokes all the time he is awake, to a point he is even drunk when performing procedures at the hospital. He is always angry at his friends, and stays away from his home and family, after getting kicked out by his father due to his father finding about what he did.
He literally goes on a path of self destruction and the movie shows how it costs him even his medical license, his dreams and how he seems to be losing grip on everything else that made the happiness in his life. The movie then tells the story of what is in store for Arjun and how he copes with the whole situation he is in.
Now when I had started this review I had mentioned that, this was a movie that in a way tested how the audience especially, the Indian audience reacts to this kind of movie. While the audience is conservative in many things that were openly displayed in this film, it was actually well received by the audience. And that is due to the raw, and rather real way with how Arjun really went on the path of self destruction. Now some may ask, would someone go to this length ruining himself for a girl? Well, the answer for that is, these kind of things actually happen. It needn’t be something related with a relationship, but it really could be anything that really affected that person’s life in a major way. Different people are affected differently, and different people react differently as well. Arjun Reddy was a film that really traversed through that.
Now of course, some things were really overboard and unwanted-such as being drunk while performing surgical procedures, in the knowledge of the medical staff, or the kind of attitude he showed women in general, which really wasn’t fair, considering the kind of experience he had with a single woman. The parts in the movie with him and the movie actress, were frankly, unwanted. It really had no connection with the plot whatsoever. I had read and seen some reviews that stated that that part of the movie, with the movie actress, reinforced his character. But my question is, was there such a reinforcement required in such a later part of the film.
Now another thing about this film, which you may have seen in the details that I mentioned, is that it is immensely long. Now generally, Indian films are a little to the longer side. But Arjun Reddy was a film that was long, even for Indian film standards. The film was good, it was entertaining, but did it grip me through the entire duration? It didn’t. Some parts really did bore me here and there.
However, I would never ask you to give up on this film, because, the rawness and the reality really strikes a chord in our thoughts. Apart from that the parts with the story build up especially their relationship and the surroundings it was built around,was good and relatable. Although Preethi may seem a villian here, ditching her family in a matter of hours when suddenly asked is never an easy thing for her to decide. The rest of the things that followed, although dramatic really fit in as well.
The part of the film where their marriage is not allowed by her family due to differences in caste is also something that is pretty relatable. Although not all, a good number of marriages are fully arranged by families in India. Although that may seem shocking to others, it’s pretty normal to the people in India. But somehow along the way, it sadly reinforced religious, cultural and ethnical barriers even more now. And in the midst of two people that love each other, two well educated, mature adults who are in love, should that reason be so big as to not even give it a second thought? It is something to think about.
The music of the film is really good, especially the song Madhuram , was really good. Despite the immense length of the movie, the ending of the the movie did make it feel worth while in the end. It didn’t feel like a waste of the viewers time, nor was it lacking the entertainment value.
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