Helmed by Shouree Chandrashekhar Ramesh, the film, a remake of the Malayalam hit Kappela, stars Anikha Surendran, Surya Vashissta and Arjun Das
Last Updated: 06.37 PM, Mar 06, 2023
Among the deluge of Malayalam film recommendations from near and dear, the writer of this piece, (un)fortunately, couldn’t make time for the Anna Ben starrer Kappela. Rather than blaming himself from not catching up with the ever-growing and daunting streaming playlist, he took a chance to watch Kappela’s Telugu remake, Butta Bomma, on Netflix instead. Was it worth the effort though?
The film is about Satya, the elder daughter of a small-time tailor in a village and how far she goes to meet the love of her life Murali, an accidental phone friend. While she leaves for Vizag to meet Murali, situations spiral out of control and an unknown man is after the young couple. Why does this stranger chase them? Is there a happy ending in store for Satya and Murali?
Despite not watching the original, Butta Bomma came across like a film that has too many loose ends and dull stretches to keep you invested. It doesn’t make an effort to explore its backdrop with any conviction, write well-fleshed out characters or build some momentum in the storytelling. Perhaps, this may have been the effect of respecting the source material too much and not attempting an adaptation too.
It merely relies on a captivating twist to cast a spell on its viewer. Well, the aftertaste of this rural drama isn’t bad, but it’s hard to shrug off the charmless, meandering narrative flow till the third act. The romance between the lead pair was extremely crucial to savour the climactic reveal. The mobile conversations are devoid of innocence and the performances, equally pale, more so in the case of a clueless Surya Vashissta.
The director takes his own sweet time to introduce viewers to his world but the setup is so generic. The story comprises a conservative family, an adventurous friend, a charming phone pal, a domineering high-class woman and a stranger who turns their world topsy turvy. The characterisation is basic and it’s a major blow that you don’t quite root for the lead pair to come together.
The casting choices are a mixed bag. Anikha Surendran, as the small-town girl who falls for an auto driver over a series of calls, is earnest though her performance is unaffecting for a long time. The likes of Jagadeesh, Pratap Bhandari and Satya’s on-screen friend pull off what Anikha can’t and deliver spontaneous performances. Arjun Das is sedate, focused and that this is his first major Telugu outing minus the baggage of any image works in his favour.
Navya Swamy is a surprise package and despite minimal screen time, she makes an impact. Madhumani, Prem Sagar deserved meatier roles for their capabilities and Sarala Devi, the Vakeel Saab ‘superwoman’ actor, is impressive too. Beyond Vinodam Lo, most of the songs don’t enjoy any recall value. The writer’s use of Krishna as a guiding metaphor in the girl’s life is intriguing and naming both the men in her life after the God - Murali and Ramakrishna - is a good storytelling device.
Vamsi Patchipulusu’s cinematography and the lively production design, more to do with Satya’s house, make an impression.With all due respect to the original, Butta Bomma doesn’t feel like a story that merited another version. The film has no significant strengths - from the writing to the performances or the music. More than transferring the blame onto the ‘remake syndrome’, this is best described as a dull film.