Among the many criteria that define a Telugu film's success, one very strong one
is how much the film manages to activate the lachrymose glands of women. And even
if the film makes an aborted attempt at making the tears flow, it should at least
uphold the noble movement of feminism. In Tollywood jargon, it then becomes a
It is common knowledge that the Kodi Ramakrishna - Soundarya team has been the frontrunner of such family films over the past some time. The so-called purpose behind this film is the question of why women should walk behind men. They should walk together. And hence the title.
Unfortunately, there are better ways of answering the question than the one that you get to see. The point Kodi Ramakrishna misses is that the purpose gets lost if he is desperate to include all the commercial and comic elements that Tollywood always bank on, and if he is hell-bent on being one-dimensional about his approach. And the glitches hit us right from the start.
The glorification of womanhood can only be done if you have a bunch of MCPs, including the lead character, to contrast the sacrificial nature of wives. Rather, that's what the director seems to think. So we have an MCP named Krishna (Srikant) who has an arranged marriage with Vijaya (Soundarya), a woman with a progressive outlook and yet quite traditional in terms of her devotion for her husband. Living in the same apartments are some other couples (all the usual comedians of Tollywood) who comprise another MCP (what would we do without Nicolas Chauvin giving us the pithy term) husband and an upwardly mobile wife.
Krishna is an arrogant, stubborn and greedy guy who leaves his cushy job and ventures to do some business. His chauvinistic and egoistic nature will not allow him to listen to his wife, who advises him not to do it. He challenges her: if she can beat him in earning, then he will accept defeat and leave her, but if he wins, she will stay a doormat.
Krishna suffers losses due to his foolhardy ways, whereas Vijaya gradually climbs up the ladder of success, encouraging other women in the neighborhood to do the same too. In the process, all her travails and her devotion to her husband are depicted.
Every alternate scene in the film is a glaringly irritating comic scene, and that kills the tempo. Incongruously placed songs sans melody irk you every now and then. Srikant's character as the arrogant MCP gets on your nerves. Soundarya, though, gives a very good performance as we've grown to expect from her.
Srikant is so unreasonably and unrepentantly cruel, the best answer to the wife's problems would perhaps have been to leave him. But the director's mistaken notion of going into uncharted territories by doing that backfires. So we have a long speech in the end by Srikant apologizing for his misdemeanors on the stage where Soundarya is being honored for her work towards the upliftment of womankind.
Jean Paul Sartre had coined an apt word to describe the tendency to please every
section of the crowd. He called it kitsch. Films like these sustain that tendency.