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Kushi on OTT: Did Shiva Nirvana go wrong with the casting and not the story?

Vijay Deverakonda, Samantha’s film opened to mixed responses in theatres and OTT

Kushi on OTT: Did Shiva Nirvana go wrong with the casting and not the story?
Shiva Nirvana on Kushi

Last Updated: 02.02 AM, Oct 07, 2023


Kushi, marking the second collaboration between Vijay Deverakonda and Samantha after Mahanati, was a relationship drama that released amidst tremendous hype and expectations. While the star-pull of the lead actors and Hesham Abdul’s blockbuster music album drew crowds to theatres initially, it couldn’t sustain its momentum at the box office. The film released in theatres in five languages on September 1.

A month after its theatrical run, the film arrived on OTT. Netflix bagged the post-theatrical digital rights of the film for a fancy price and within a week of its OTT premiere, it is already one of the most widely watched Telugu films on the streamer. Jayaram, Sachin Khedakar, Murali Sharma, Lakshmi, Ali, Rohini, Vennela Kishore, Rahul Ramakrishna, Srikanth Iyengar and Saranya Pradeep also played key roles.


In both its theatrical run and the OTT release, the film hasn’t received great responses. The audiences blamed it on various factors - the Kashmir episode, the absence of a strong plot/conflict and the slow narration. The film revolves around Viplav and Aradhya, who hail from families with contrasting opinions on religion, God, rituals, superstitions and rise above their differences to salvage their marriage.


The plot surrounding conflicts due to the different ideologies of a husband and a wife is as old as the hills. Yet, it’s fairly relatable to a viewer. The issue, one feels with Kushi, is the star image of both its lead actors Vijay and Samantha. Shiva Nirvana, especially in the case of Vijay Deverakonda, goes out of the way to please the actor’s fans with the chases, fights, a soup song and the Arjun Reddy reference.

Even with Samantha’s character, you expect something special from her, but there’s no luck - irrespective of the director’s intent, it rather feels ordinary. The absence of a strong chemistry between the leads (probably due to the script) proves to be a deterrent. Minus the indulgences, had the director chosen actors with lesser baggage, chances are high that the film’s essence would have struck a chord with many.

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