Ramula is the saving grace
2.25 / 5
What is the movie about?
Pitta Kathalu, as the title implies, is an anthology series. It contains several stories with a common theme of love, passion, depression and hope, but not necessarily in the same order. These emotions happen in unique setups and ways.
There are many familiar and unfamiliar faces that are part of the movie. Of them, Saanve Megghana and Abhay Bethiganti easily stand out. They are the ones who look real in a rooted sense. Both stand out for their unique way of delivering the fun and dramatic moments with equal ease.
The rest of the actors, including names like Amala Paul, Satyadev, Jagapathi Babu, Shruti Haasan, Lakshmi Manchu, Eesha Rebba, Srinivasa Avasarala etc. No one managed to bring up the clichéd and mundane content they were given. Some do the ‘expected’ well, but it is neither memorable nor really impressive.
A few relatively unknown supporting characters from one ‘short story’ remain in your mind even after the entire movie’s completion. The fact that they do and not all of the names mentioned above should make things clear regarding the overall impression. Sanjith Hegde suits the character, but lacks the threat it needs to spread.
Tharun Bhascker, Nandini Reddy, Nag Ashwin and Sankalp Reddy are directing the individual short stories. They are all new-age Telugu filmmakers who debuted in the past decade, each doing at least a unique and sensational work. Expectations are high, given the names involved. Unfortunately the end result is disappointing.
Easily and by far the best part of the anthology film is Ramula by Tharun Bhascker. It has all the elements that characterize a Tharun Bhascker movie in a shortened format. It’s like his short films made before the cinematic submission. Only differently now it is made with better quality control.
From the opening, Ramula hooks us up and takes us into the story. The protagonist’s characters, the supporting cast, all register. The only weak link here is the ‘big’ name that doesn’t come across organically in its setup. Otherwise, even the microphone guy, the stage coordinator, etc. will click too.
The ending goes well with the shorts theme, but somehow it doesn’t have the gut feeling. It’s predictability. The actors, the writing and the direction keep the attention, but the story itself is not compelling.
In all honesty, it is difficult to say or select the second best of the lot. None of them are. They’re all fourth best together, which should help indicate the huge gap between the first and the rest.
Each of the other short stories has individual moments that offer something unconventional, but fail to impress as a whole.
Nag Ashwin goes crazy with its futuristic imagination, but it has no soul and takes a predictable twist. Given the challenges that a short format poses, compliments for the vision and steady work, but narrative it’s painfully predictable. Could this be a demo work for his upcoming science fiction movie starring Prabhas? Well then it should serve as a wake-up call. He needs to improve his game a lot.
The lack of ‘soul’ is also a common problem with the three. It is more evident in the works of Nandini Reddy and Sankalp Reddy. The former bundles all the clichés into a single story, while the latter has no idea how to proceed with a relationship drama that is not in its field. It ends just when it is thought to be starting to rise.
In general, only one of the four Pitta Kathalu is worth it. The rest are bits and pieces type with clichés, confusion and predictability rolled in. Watch out if you don’t mind, just to see what these ‘big’ names are up to.
Music and other departments?
Musically Ramula also stands out with neat work by Vivek Sagar. It has its typical style and taste and makes you really listen to the music. However, it is not out yet. Next up is Nag Ashwin’s xLife. – composes the music. It has a unique sound and ‘sound design’. It is neatly attuned to the world. Everything about Meera felt so general, and it includes the “music.” Pinky is last on the list due to its seemingly ‘nonexistent music’.
Music (Ramula, xLife)
Casting (Ramula, xLife)
No emotional connection
Each short has intriguing bits that can be explored in different directions. The Writers Imagination, in Meera, for example. Instead of the tried-and-true routine, an alternative approach with the core theme in mind would have been better.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes, but very few parts
Will you recommend it?
Yes, but with huge reservations