It's hard to go into a show of Aduvari Matalaku Ardhale Verule without a sense of cheery anticipation. First, the name and the promos seem to suggest a romantic comedy that's also slick-looking. Then, Venkatesh and Trisha are both delightful at comedy. And finally, Venkatesh, an A-lister with universal appeal, is returning to the screens after 15 months.
AMAV however turns out to be a meandering, ho-hum film - at least in one half - that fails to deliver either on the romance or on the comedy. The movie is not happening in the first half and has déjà vu as the watermark for most scenes in the second, there are more gaps of logic than you paid for, and there are too many scenes where they do just a little more than necessary. For the most part, then, Venkatesh is the life-support system for the film, with nothing else going for it.
Ganesh (Venkatesh) cannot get a job even after a decade of trying, and has a strained relation with his father (Kota Srinivasa Rao) due to this. One day he sees Kirti (Trisha), and, falling in love with her instantly, follows her to realize that she is a software professional.
He makes a Herculean effort to get a job in that company as a programmar, and manages it in one of the several improbabilities dotting this film (another being how he completes a huge task single-handedly overnight, given how much of a novice he is). Incidentally, software professionals are going to find a lot of stuff funny in the first hour.
Kirti is his boss, and very intolerant. He tries to get close to her when they go to Australia on an assignment, but it just doesn't happen. The first half is also the bane of the film. There is just no depth in the characterization of Kirti or in the interaction between them - at the end of it, you don't know just what her problem is (actually, it's not convincing even by the end of the film). You don't get the point of the relation between Ganesh and his father either, and its relation to the second half hangs by a thread.
There is also no light-heartedness in the first half - Sunil, the only comedian in the film (with the exception of Suman Shetty in the second half), does almost nothing, and Venkatesh himself has no great lines or scenes. If you go in expecting a Nuvvu Naaku Nacchaav
or even a Malliswari
, it's easy to feel sorry for you. And there is simply no mush.
The first half ends with Kirti telling Ganesh to get out of her life and leave her alone since she is simply not interested. The second then sees a heart-broken Ganesh go to the marriage of his friend Vasu (Sriram) in a village for a change of scene, where he unexpectedly finds Kirti again in a complicated situation. But no, that doesn't taste nearly as good as it sounds. As he mingles with the huge family of Vasu and endears himself to them, you get a feeling of having seen this several times. While this part is generally more engaging than the first half, and is funnier, it still is average fare.
Venkatesh is the best thing about the film, of course, adding a half-star to the rating and 3-4 weeks to this one's box-office destiny. Trisha's character is poorly scripted, and unconvincing in how it evolves, leaving her little scope to impress. Sriram as Vasu turns in a dignified performance. The girl who plays Trisha's sister (Swati) who has a huge crush on Venkatesh is impressive. The music is pretty routine stuff.
One of the interesting aspects of the movie is its legitimizing software professionals as movie heroes. For an industry that considers academic success and nerdiness as limiting in empathy among viewers, and idolizes as heroes people who are bad as students since that is where the masses are, that's a leap forward. Perhaps in a couple of years you'll see a movie with its hero being an IITian. (Actually, we are told there is actually a movie coming up - Five Point Someone directed by Rajkumar Hirani - where the heroes, to be played by Abhishek Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Hrithik Roshan, are IITians.)
AMAV is worth a watch for the light-hearted parts of its second half and for Venkatesh's performance. There doesn't seem to be much challenging it this summer except maybe Munna, and that should help it at the BO.