The monotony of the Allari Naresh range of comedies rarely bothers you, except if there's a really bad director around. Indeed, it is his unflinching loyalty to the comedy genre that repeatedly resuscitates an otherwise bored box-office battered by assembly line offerings.
While the title evokes memories of the iconic '80s Jandhyala creation by the same name, Aha Naa Pellanta is broadly a remake of Welcome (which, in turn, is a remake of Marrying The Mafia), and yet another Allari Naresh joyride.
Naresh plays Subrahmanyam, a nice, reserved, polite do-gooder software engineer. One morning after a night of pubbing, Subrahanyam is shocked when he finds himself waking up next to a woman he's never met. The lady Sanjana (Ritu Barmecha) is even more scandalized, but the two somehow make it past the incident.
In walk Sanjana's 3 hefty brothers (Srihari, Subbaraju, Samrat), who threaten Subrahmanyam into agreeing to marry their sister since they claim he has fooled around with her, despite his pleas to the contrary. Sanjana's intimidating father (Nagineedu), who's back home in Warangal killing people who don't agree with him, looms in the background.
ANP is a rather conventional comedy - and an essentially clean one - that makes good use of its star cast. You don't complain about the predictable plot, since individual scenes and joke sequences are quite well-written. Also, the film never relies on physical humour to plug in easy laughs.
However, the film suffers from a weakened second half, a fact made all the more painful after a high-spirited, smooth and easy pre-interval build-up. Luckily, for the actors, plot handicaps don't mean much - they never let the film give up.
Naresh, of course, is the life of the film. Among the others, Srihari is a hoot. His rugged demeanor, and his deadpan humour - delivered with meticulous comic timing - make him irreplaceable in the role of the tough-but-well-meaning-and-protective elder brother. Subbaraju and Samrat are mostly flunkies, but are evidently having fun with their roles.
And thanks to Srihari and the whole Warangal angle to his family, the film's lines have a dominating Telangana influence to them, with even Jayaprakash Reddy (in a brief role) joining in.
Brahmanandam's character as the insanely "busy" manager is funny, though the laughs wane after a while. Nagineedu does the same thing that he usually does. The heroine Ritu Barmecha is stony-faced, but it's nice to see Anita back on screen.
The songs are for the bathroom breaks, but one soft romantic number towards the end stands out.
On the whole, we'd recommend this for its cheer quotient, at least until the next barrel of chuckles we ordered comes in.