For reasons best known to them, enough and more Indian parents (dads in particular) find it complete anathema to vocally or overtly express their love for their children. So you'll have to glean it from the expensive clothes they buy you and the extra time they work so that they can afford those clothes. Or the hearsay from their colleagues on how your dad wouldn't stop talking about your achievements in school, although when you excitedly go show him your trophy, he barely registers a syllable of acknowledgment.
It is this admirably fine point that Nenu... Sailaja sets as its fulcrum. Sailaja (Keerthy Suresh) shares nothing with her parents (Sathyaraj and Rohini) largely because she never knew she could. They love her to bits and work hard to provide for her. However, they don't express any of those emotions to her, and this invariably discourages the daughter from making similar communication.
With these broken channels of communication, parents and kid actively participate in the contest of "my-selflessness-hurts-most". So much that she'll mutely marry a guy of her dad's choice and readily abandon the poor bloke she has feelings for.
Poor bloke in question is Hari (Ram), a sorry son of a ...sweet lady, who gets friendzoned all his life by more girls than he'd care to count. Things finally seem to be falling in place with Sailaja until one day she mercilessly assaults him with this blunt instrument called filial duty. The rest of the film follows his attempts to salvage his situation by installing telegraph lines along the already existing sturdy bridges between dad and daughter.
And Ram lives up to the role rather well. The guy can act and he is rather charming when he's not being insufferably cocky (which is what is considered heroism nowadays, sadly). He does the ain't-heard-nothing-about-gravity fight sequences and the my-limbs-have-too-many-degrees-of-freedom dance sequences pretty well, but his strength appears to be the emotional scenes. Those work, and not least because of his efforts.
Naresh and Pragati (as Hari's parents) do well in their rather minuscule roles. But it is Sathyaraj and Rohini who bag the meaty characters of the emotional but vocally tied up parents. Lovely performances, those. Pradeep Rawat manages to make you laugh, but only intermittently. And there end the good parts of the film.
Everything else about the movie draws up mixed feelings. The film isn't badly written, but it isn't well-written either. The same goes for the direction. A number of directorial choices appear naive, and you can't really blame a debutante (Kishore Tirumala) too much. But there is that nagging feeling that Nenu... Sailaja could have been a far better film in the hands of better talent.
The general feeling towards the rest of the departments is one of "it's all right but nothing that merits discussion". DSP's songs, in particular, make no ripples at all. The background score works, though.
And that isn't to say that Keerthy Suresh does a bad job. However, you have to consider the role - a girl who isn't comfortable with expressing her feelings despite abundant possession of said feelings. A muted expression of sorts is needed, and a layered character like that needs a certain heft that the poor girl hasn't yet got on her vitae. She is gratifyingly not exaggerated, and manages quite some talking with her eyes, and that's more than you can ask for from most girls in movies.
So that brings us to file the film under the good old Great-Concept-Sorry-Execution head. There. That is yet another sad failure of communication. Your decision to watch would greatly depend on how well your receiver is functioning, and also on how unoccupied it is.
I couldn't get past ten pages of Midnight's Children. It felt like Rushdie was actively telling his readership to work hard to process his writing. So when he uses a word like pulchritude, I feel he's being a pompous arse.
But when Wodehouse uses the same word, he only gets jolly acceptance from me. That's because his use of unusual verbiage is at the right frequency. And secondly, the words have a great contextual significance that you can glean the meaning from the situation itself.
This is the kind of writing I aspire to. Where I manage to speak my mind to my reader even if a couple of words seem unfamiliar. But then, that is work in progress.