Arjuna Phalguna Movie Review: Fails to work at multiple levels

Updated on Jan 01, 2022 03:06 AM IST  |  214.1K
   
Arjuna Phalguna Movie Review
Arjuna Phalguna Movie Review: Fails to work at multiple levels
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Title: Arjuna Phalguna

Cast: Sree Vishnu, Amritha Aiyer, and others

Director: Teja Marni

Run-Time: 129 minutes

Rating: 1.5/5

The film under review has a mythological title. In an initial scene, a key character explains to a child the allegorical significance of the words 'Arjuna Phalguna', misleading us into thinking that Arjun (Sree Vishnu) is up for something spectacular/courageous. Heavy-sounding words like 'Padmavyuham' and 'Kurukshetra' are thrown around to stage a silly story about silly people. The beats of the running song would have us believe that the protagonists are victims of extraordinary injustice fighting a brave battle against an oppressive antagonist or a dehumanizing system. 

Director Teja Marni bombards us with one too many cliches in the first 30 minutes itself. There is an irresponsible son and a father who calls him hopeless every other minute. There is an indebted farmer's family that is at the mercy of a manipulative character. There is a scene against the trend of rural-urban migration by villagers in search of greener pastures (variations of this scene have been seen in films like 'Sreekaram' and 'Maharshi' in the past). 

There are five childhood friends, two of whom are in love with each other. The love story is so underdeveloped that a montage song between the hero and Amritha Aiyer's Shravani is vainly sought to become a substitute for meaty dialogues. 

Granted that not every premise has to be novel. But this film is riddled with a landmine of lame plot points. The trope of a set of amateurs having to commit a crime is the stuff of many a crime comedy. 'Arjuna Phalguna' has the ambition of a crime comedy without understanding what it takes to pull off a 'Brochevarevarura'. 

There is, what we believe, is a jackpot in the plot. But the plot built around it is so utterly convenient that you just give up. Arjun accidentally lays his hands on something useful; he uses it as leverage to blackmail someone. A key character is conveniently unscrupulous. Nothing holds.

It would take tremendous talent to write a screenplay where naive people get into trouble because they just don't know anything. And it would take even better talent to dignify their crisis. Merely deploying words like 'Lakshyam' and 'Deeksha' and slogans like 'Hara Hara Mahadev' doesn't do anything. You only end up irritating the serious viewer.

And it's not like 'Arjuna Phalguna' knows how to get its comedy right either. We are expected to laugh out loud at the plight of the five friends one minute and sympathize with them the next minute just because a serious song is playing in the background. 

In a film that is so wrong at multiple levels, Priyadarshan's music is somewhat okayish. VK Naresh and Subbaraju are ordinary, but Mahesh Achanta of 'Rangasthalam' fame is sincere. Sree Vishnu would have done justice to his character had it been written sensibly. 

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