Santosham is a movie filled with good music, sunny romance and snappy one-liners. People may either love it or hate it. True, the film is not for everyone - or is it so? However, it is bold in what it tries to do.
The story, though stereotypical, is sautéed stylistically with the aid of the device of 21st century songs ranging from pop to rock, and it pulls off what it set out to achieve. A "modern romantic musical". If you can put aside your feelings of misgivings regarding the sidekicks, there is much that is entertaining in this film.
The opening of Santosham is an extraordinarily ordinary melodrama, but gradually
it amalgamates into a gut wrenching, beautifully filmed drama. The film starts
with a Murari
type family in Venkatapalem, which has been bereaved by the death of Padmavati
aka Paddu (Gracy Singh). It then traces her story.
Paddu sets off to Ooty to attend an IT seminar. There in Ooty, with due encouragement
from her cutie sister Bhanu (Sreya), Paddu falls in love with Kartik (Nagarjuna),
a top software architect. When her father Ramachandraiah (Viswanath) refuses to
accept their marriage, Paddu elopes with Kartik and gets married to him.
After the marriage she tries to get back to her family, but she is despised by her father for absconding. Some time later, Paddu and Kartik move to New Zealand and are blessed with a baby boy (Lucky). Then Paddu dies in a nasty car accident, and perhaps this is what gives the gossamer material the whiff of welcome melancholy. End flash back.
The film, which seemed almost stagnant till now, picks up pace gradually, and
depicts love blossoming between Kartik and Sreya, and how they get married. Elaborating
further would definitely spoil the fun, so The End.
Directed with breezy panache by Dasaradha, the movie captures the sights, sounds and spirit of a good romantic musical. With a rollicking energy, Dasaradha keeps the film's momentum going at top speed for its last one hour. His timing of songs is spot on.
Nag is as usual at his best in the "smiles" department, and is dressed to the
nines throughout the movie. Sreya turns a roly-poly sidekick into a warm, lovable
and strong supporting character. There is excellent onscreen chemistry between
Nag and Sreya. Gracy Singh's facade in the movie is a catastrophe, though. Prabhu
Deva's action is decent, and his dance in the "Mehbooba" song is noteworthy.
The voice of Usha and the scores by veteran R P Patnaik will make you cry, smile and sigh. It will make you want to sing, to be in the sun, to fly. The movie is a musical shooting star - it returns you to your better self. Slip the audio CD in, turn up the volume and have a blast!
The film is instantly accessible to everyone from the raucous groundlings looking
for low comedy to the aesthetes hankering for some intellectual bite behind their
entertainment. I have watched it several (three) times and have definitely gotten
my money's worth of this movie. All in all, I recommend this movie to people who
enjoy musical/romantic movies and to Nag fans.