The promos suggest an Archies-like romance, and you're probably picturing lots of fluff floating around. Surprisingly, it's not fluff you'll find in Ye Maya Chesave - there's something satiny about this detail-rich movie. Like a rich creamy chocolate shake, it takes its own saccharine time to slide down your throat ever so gently.
Gautham Menon's key triumph in the production is the finesse in direction. It is sheer indulgence for the audience to watch every frame, every dialogue and every expression delivered with the meticulousness of someone trying to set a table using fine crystal ware.
It's a different matter that the script is not a "story" - it is not really a collection of events or vignettes as much as it is a portrayal of a couple's courtship. That's a polite way of saying nothing much happens in the flick.
Karthik (Naga Chaitanya), an aspiring filmmaker, falls in love with his landlord's daughter Jessie (Samantha) at first sight, and clumsily goes about vying for her attention, and even proposing to her too soon. The amused Jessie is soft about her refusal to get into this, mostly because her father won't let her, a Kerala Christian, marry a Hindu. The rest of the story is about what happens to the rest of the romance.
Ye Maya Chesave is qualified to be called a mature love story, because it is high on realism. The characters are all flesh and blood, and their lines and confrontations are solidly rooted in reality. The problem, however, lies in its pace and in its casting. There are long spells of emptiness in the film, cushioned either by a song or by whispered dialogues that lose you because they're rather bland.
It leads to the mismatch between the kind of flick this is and the lead pair - neither the hero nor the heroine really exudes the romantic flavour that this movie is made up of. Couple that with the fact that the entire film is fixated on primarily two characters, without a healthy social buffer - joking families or gangs of friends, for example - and things get claustrophobic at times.
For Naga Chaitanya, this movie is undoubtedly a plum platform to build up on his acting skills. His earnestness is visible, but his dialogue delivery remains a lot less than perfect. The heroine Samantha is talented, and she might bag some good offers after this one, though.
Krishnudu plays himself - bizarrely, in the role of the hero's sidekick - and he's pleasant to have around. There are other Tollywood plugins, too - Puri Jagannadh is in this as well. A lot of unfamiliar faces are part of the cast, and do well.
The film moves between Hyderabad and Kerala. Menon mounts his story on some astonishing cinematography, pampering the eye not with the lush tea gardens or backwaters of Kerala, but with the beauty of human expression and interaction. The sets and the actors are styled with rarely seen urban polish, and yet everything seems approachable - the heroine wears cotton chudidhar-kurtas and sarees, and the hero's dressed like an average well-dressed college student.
Rahman's music is a major asset to the flick. His compositions are, well, mathematical harmony.
In all, Ye Maya Chesave is a well-crafted movie, but could have been much more fun were there more to its plot and cast.