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Kotha Bangaru Lokam Review

Kotha Bangaru Lokam
Deepa Garimella /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
Hep, glossy-haired teenage girls dressed in clothes from the kids' section, and over-confident, scrubbed-clean teenage boys dressed in clothes from, well, Fardeen Khan's wardrobe, all of whom are never seen inside a real classroom but are ready to sing and dance at bubble-gummy college fests that occur at random times of the year, can please step down the stage, thank you. Because college-realism is actually here to stay.

This time, the focus is on real teenagers who converge at those temples of learning, otherwise known as Intermediate Colleges (the corporate kind, which, if they had their way, would insist on kids studying 24 hours a day, by inventing a 30-hour clock if necessary). Kotha Bangaru Lokam captures what love and life are like, before that phenomenal milestone in every Telugu household - EAMCET - and might as well have been a prequel to Happy Days.

Happy-go-lucky Balu (Varun Sandesh), who doesn't know the fine line between being cheeky and being rude, but gets away with it all the time, falls in love with lively and spirited Swapna (Sweta Basu Prasad), both of who study at a residential intermediate college. Playing key roles in the love story of these adolescents are their parents, and the college itself.

Balu's parents, played by Jayasudha and Prakash Raj, are the self-assuredly loving kind, who trust their kid to make his own mistakes and learn from them. On the other hand, Swapna's parents (Ahuti Prasad & Rajitha) are quite the diametrically opposite kind.

One day, Balu and Swapna have a small outing, and there's a small kiss. Now, if you have been an oily, pimply 16-year-old who has lived with concepts like "intensive coaching" and "A-section", at institutions that forbid you to breathe the same air as a person of the opposite sex, you know only too well what a big deal a little kiss can turn into. The college is scandalized, the parents are brought into the picture, and how affairs are handled forms the rest of the story.

The concept behind KBL works well, but as a story, it is not entirely well-crafted. For example, there is a turn of events in the end just for the sake of propelling the story forward. The twist is so overwhelming that the rest of the story gets blurred, as the audience is still coming to terms with what happened. Then, quite a few dialogues are put in just for the sake of saying something wise, and end up confusing the audiences.

Also, KBL wants to convey a point to teens (and their parents), but kind of avoids looking in the eye. The advice keeps switching from "Love Vs Attraction" to "Teen Priorities: Love Or Studies?" to "How To Understand Your Teenager: Parenting For Dummies", and the result is a vague, confused message that doesn't hit you head-on. Given the tricky task of cautioning teenagers (which, if not successful, could have disastrous results), it could well be an effort to preach without being overly pontifical. To its credit, the effort is successful, more or less.

Sweta Prasad (erstwhile child star from Hindi films like Makdee) is perfect as Swapna, and boy, is she talented! Varun Sandesh is eager to do a younger role than in Happy Days, but at times doesn't carry off the look without seeming stupid.

Both sets of parents have quite significant roles to play, and all the actors do a great job. Rao Ramesh also has a pivotal role; he and Prakash Raj serve as the medium through which the film conveys its message(s). And Brahmanandam as the college principal will have headmasters looking for cover.

The music and the visuals fit perfectly into what could be safely called a Happy Days template, and they work. However, the fun of Kotha Bangaru Lokam is in the details that it gets perfectly right - from the average unglamorous Intermediate student's life, agonized as much by ranks as by zits, the drudgery of "study hours", the incessant fear of getting caught for anything, and the ignominy of meeting your parents in the principal's room at the slightest hint of "indiscipline", down to the dressing, the synthetic salwar-kameezes, the oiled and braided hair, and even the dupatta self-consciously worn back to front.

Kotha Bangaru Lokam will have struck a chord when you discover that a) you were one of the characters in the film, b) you know someone who is, or c) both. Chances are it will strike gold, too. Watch the film for yourself to know why it's so endearing.
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Kotha Bangaru Lokam (telugu) reviews
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  • Cast
    Varun Sandesh, Sweta Basu Prasad, Prakash Raj, Jayasudha, Ahuti Prasad, Brahmanandam, Rao Ramesh
    3 users say this is wrong.
  • Music
    Micky J Meyer
    2 users say this is wrong.
  • Director
    Srikanth Addala
    3 users say this is wrong.
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
    2 users say this is wrong.
Pavan on 14th Oct 2008, 3:38pm | Permalink
Story of the movie is good.Message oriented movie.Music was on it's best.Can watch it once.It is like a kids love story(in some scenes).

Pros: Music,comedy
Cons: some dialogues by hero and heroine
Can watch again - Yes
Good for kids - Yes
Good for dates - Yes
Wait to rent it - No
Mungalla Rama Krishna on 25th Nov 2008, 3:29pm | Permalink
Good Love Story and a Good Family Entertainer
The Imtiaz on 22nd Nov 2008, 7:05pm | Permalink
Excellent Movie! The script is too good. This movies sent out a message to teenagers toward importance of parents and love. Finally background music and songs are really good!

Pros: Script, Performances, Music
Krishna on 17th Nov 2008, 6:36pm | Permalink
Definitely among the better films from Tollywood's camp. A chilled out 1st half and boring last quarter.

Pros: Music and performances of the entire cast
Cons: Final quarter
Portuguese Man-Of-War on 30th Oct 2008, 10:20am | Permalink
saradhi, thank you for giving out the climax!
uvrvijayasaradhi on 30th Oct 2008, 12:21am | Permalink
Why the directors kill the father of the hero if they want to make the hero to concentrate on his career? The father is so friendly with him, and they could demonstrate it in a different way. This is what showed in the Pawan Kalyan's movie "suswagatham". In that movie the Director killed Raghuvaran, of course it is justified in the end. In this movie I don't see any reason for killing Prakash Raj. Is it the only way? Very bad.

This movie gives wrong thought to the students. The students have to concentrate on their studies during that period. The love what they showed in the movie is an infactuation. If the love is so perfect, how the hero could do all the 4 years his Engineering without thinking about the girl. He also did not give a thought in the end, until the time she was shown to him.

It also gives the impression that, if the parents are not interested in the early love, then the boy and girl should run away from their house. What next?

Stupid movies and more stupids are we, since we encourage them. The rating I gave here to the camera work. Nothing more than that.
anil_kumarm on 19th Oct 2008, 12:04am | Permalink
Enjoyed first half. But second half reminded my parents and myself during my student days. Very heart touching movie. Hero could have shown more emotions in the final scenes.

Pros: heroine, dialogues, music, direction..................
Cons: varun in some scenes
Pavan on 14th Oct 2008, 3:38pm | Permalink
Story of the movie is good.Message oriented movie.Music was on it's best.Can watch it once.It is like a kids love story(in some scenes).

Pros: Music,comedy
Cons: some dialogues by hero and heroine
its_vinay on 13th Oct 2008, 9:16pm | Permalink
Heroine is awesome and she did a great job in the movie.Story line of the movie is good but the way he projected the story in second half is very poor.First half of the movie is very very good but in second half the link between the scenes is not proper.If director works more on script it would be another block buster.

There are few scenes in the movie which gives wrong signals to teenagers.One such thing is the coversation between hero and heroine in the theatre.

Postive points: Story, music, heroine, comedy

Negative points: poor narration in Second half

Overall : You can watch it once.
Satish Kosuru on 11th Oct 2008, 12:49pm | Permalink
It is a great movie and must watch for every teenager. This type of movies should come in regular intervals to educate teenager. I can Telugu industry maturing by trying different subjects.

Pros: Everything in the movie
Cons: Little bit dragging in second half
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