Atithi Devobhava Movie Review: This story about an imperfect protagonist is outdated, formulaic
Title: Atithi Devobhava
Cast: Aadi Saikumar, Nuveksha and others
Director: Polimera Nageshwar
Run-Time: 133 minutes
'Atithi Devobhava' has a decent first 15-20 minutes. Abhay (Aadi Saikumar) has a nightmarish experience navigating his own house when he is alone. He is a monophobic youngster who shivers at the mere thought of living alone. His psychological disorder makes him take refuge in crowded roads, for example. At other times, he falls back on his doting mother, who is a widow.
There comes a point in every bad film where you just give up. And, in the case of the film under review, it comes when Abhay turns out to be that typical commercial Telugu cinema hero who can bash up eve-teasers. Vaishnavi (Nuveksha) is instantly impressed. Love blossoms and the screenplay implodes.
It's not like writers K Venugopal Reddy and Rajini Rajababu don't understand mindsets. "When we spot someone helping a blind person, we like the one who is helping. We don't like the blind person," Saptagiri's character tells Abhay. It's a sensible line. And by the standards of Telugu cinema, it's a profound insight. As the film progresses, such piercing lines not only disappear completely but also give way to banalities and inanities. When the conflict resolution has to happen, Vaishnavi mouths predictable dialogues after a heavily formula-tinted episode involving bad guys.
Even when Abhay breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience, we don't feel for him. It's because his monophobia has been shown in a juvenile fashion. Gags replace Abhay's genuine concerns and afflictions. Saptagiri badly misses bedroom action and throws metaphors like Twenty-20, Test match and the word 'batting'. These double entendres are embarrassingly run-of-the-mill.
There is an incredulous episode where Abhay behaves in an awkward fashion in the presence of a female stranger. The elements in the episode look forced, and the attempt to evoke laughs is quite odd.
The plot points come undone because of the itch to structure the film as a love-hate-love story steeped in template-driven narration. You only have to look at how the eve-teasers from the first half resurface conveniently, killing any chance of the story being conversational or novel.
Aadi Saikumar and Nuveksha get to be seen in a couple of decent songs (by composer Sekhar Chandra). The visuals are off-colour.
'Atithi Devobhava', in summation, is a film centered on a protagonist suffering from monophobia. Its immature narration will make you miss effective comedies like Nani's 'Bhale Bhale Mogadivoy', which too had a protagonist with a so-called defect.
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