The film starred Siddharth, Genelia, Prakash Raj and Jayasudha in lead roles
Every time we revisit Bommarillu, the Siddharth, Genelia-starrer, on the small screen even today, we do not miss the iconic climax sequence where Siddarth a.k.a Siddhu (as part of his long monologue) asks his on-screen father Prakash Raj, 'Naa aata kuda meere aadesthe ela nanna?' (What's the point if you play the game on my behalf and don't give me a chance?). It's a question that hit parents where it hurts the most and validated the importance of giving children their own space to make key decisions in their lives.
Apart from the enjoyable on-screen romance between Genelia and Siddharth, the story struck a chord with all youngsters who were trying to emerge out of their parents' shadows to create their own identity. As the film celebrates 15 years of its release, we look at how it wrapped an important message about parenting in a sugarcoated pill without deviating too much from the commercial diktats. Bommarillu predominantly deals with parents across three households - of the film's lead protagonist Siddhu, his love interest Haasini (Genelia) and the prospective bride Subbalakshmi. (Neha Bamb)
Siddhu has firm opinions on what he wants from life, from his clothing to his hairstyle to his entrepreneurial aspirations but still feels like a stranger in his own household, thanks to his overbearing father Aravind (Prakash Raj). While Aravind thinks he's only doing his duty as a protective father, Siddhu feels strangled in his company. He's more comfortable talking to his mother but his household isn't a place where frank conversations or discussions about career and life are encouraged. Friends remain Siddhu's only venting outlet. Siddhu is tired of being the loyal son and wants to break free from the cocoon.
There's an interesting contrast presented in the form of Haasini's widowed father Kanaka Rao (Kota Srinivasa Rao). Haasini's mother dies early in her life and Kanaka Rao carries the burden of being the only doting parent to his daughter, upon whom he showers limitless love. Unlike Siddhu's case, Kanaka Rao and Haasini are more like pals, taking digs at each other, discussing everything under the sun except for an occasional lie. Despite all the pampering, Haasini is full of life and innocence and never needs to struggle to get what she wants from life. Kanaka Rao trusts his upbringing and is slightly protective as well but knows the importance of giving freedom to Haasini to exercise her choices.
In another parallel to Siddhu's life, we're introduced to Subbalakshmi, his prospective bride who too doesn't have any identity beyond her father (Tanikella Bharani). However, the twist here being, Subbalakshmi remains quite content about being the obedient daughter and abides by her father's words. The film isn't only the coming-of-age tale of Siddhu but also Subbalakshmi, who realises there's more to life beyond marriage. The climax sequence where she finally gathers the courage to say no to her marriage with Siddhu and confronts her father shows how she's a transformed woman by the end of the story. Her father may not have a full-fledged role in the film though we know that he mostly takes decisions on behalf of her daughter without prior discussion.
The film ends on a happy note with all the three fathers taking stock of their children's lives, coming to terms with their concerns and ground realities. In most films, these parents may have been projected in a heroic and sympathetic light, but not Bommarillu, which explored the thin line between their care and obsession/protectiveness in a lighthearted vein. Bommarillu offers refreshing insights with every viewing. It isn't a flawless film by any means but has its heart at the right place.