Would you rather pretend to be someone else in order to please your mother, or would you rather be honest and respect your mother's right to know the truth? Is not deception more hurtful than bare-faced reality? It's hard not to get into that ideological debate when you watch a film that glorifies a liar.
But save the ethical questions for some other time. Because Chintakayala Ravi has other problems in life.
Chintakalaya Ravi (Venkatesh) works as a bartender in the USA, but everyone back home thinks he is a software engineer. His mother (Lakshmi) struts about wearing her son's profession like a badge of honour. Soon she even finds a nice girl, Lavanya (Mamata Mohandas), for him to get married to.
Lavanya, thankfully being more intelligent than expected, wants to do a background check on him, through her friend Sunitha (Anushka) in the US. So as you can see, C Ravi has some tough times to handle. And quite a bit of falling in love to do. Will the reluctant cat be pulled out of the bag? How will Ravi find a way out? Why doesn't he tell the truth and get it over with?
For the morally upright, the last question is not going to be answered in this film. Nevertheless, Chintakayala Ravi is a nice, believable, fun, romantic story revolving around some beautiful people. Our filmi foreign fixations are mostly limited to Swiss and Aussie locales for songs and dances, so it's refreshing to have films that also talk about lives out there in a realistic way.
However, the romantic bits in Chintakayala Ravi, while breezy, are disappointingly brief. There could have been some more spark, some more shy glances, and some more 'moments'. Things take a U-turn too soon, it seems.
Then, there are acts and acts blatantly borrowed from other movies (successfully adding to the Yash Raj feel), but hey, it's not polite to point when you've come to watch a Venkatesh-comedy. And anyway, 'inspirations' don't matter (who do you know whose work is not inspired, anyway?) when you are busy getting entertained and feeling good. Humour is everywhere in Chintakayala Ravi - and it's mostly clean. The bits of toilet humour are nothing to cringe majorly at.
The film has been mostly shot abroad, whose Telugu community it is clearly aimed at. With half our brethren in America, and with the Snapfishes, Flickrs and Picassas of the world, foreign locales don't seem so foreign now, but they still are charming to watch in the movies. And they lend the film a Yash Raj look.
The music is very typical Vishal-Shekhar fare (they've even brought in a few of their own tunes from Bollywood), and does not let you down at all. Bagunde Bagunde is one particularly amazing song, which you will keep humming long after the movie is over.
Needless to say, the film's biggest asset is Venkatesh, and for the most part, it is he who provides the polish for this movie. Comedy comes naturally to him, as does romance. Both the heroines are good, and good-looking. Lakshmi stars in a major role, and does well.
Chintakayala Ravi is a light-hearted flick with few alternatives. Do take your family along.