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Orange hits screens again: Ram Charan-Genelia’s romance holds up well even today

The film, directed by Bommarillu Bhaskar, was a washout at the theatres at the time of its release

Orange hits screens again: Ram Charan-Genelia’s romance holds up well even today
Genelia and Ram Charan

Last Updated: 02.49 PM, Mar 26, 2023


Timing is everything in cinema. How else can you justify the box office fate of Bommarillu Bhaskar’s Orange? Ram Charan perhaps got the best ever start to a career that a newcomer would’ve dreamt of - Chirutha and Magadheera, directed by ‘happening’ filmmakers - Puri Jagannath and SS Rajamouli. The expectations around his third film naturally were sky high. Forget Orange, it wouldn’t have been easy for any film to withstand that pressure.

There are many theories around the commercial failure of the Ram Charan, Genelia starrer even today. While some say it was a result of poor production planning and budgeting, some point a finger towards Genelia’s hyperactive (tone-deaf) character and a few shift the blame towards the absence of adequate commercial highs. Irrespective of the reasons, it took many years for actor-producer Naga Babu to brave past his financial woes owing to Orange.

The reactions for Orange were extreme during release - it was either loved or totally ripped apart. However with repeat telecasts on television and its subsequent digital release in this decade, the former lot outnumbered the other. Audiences finally came to terms with what the director wanted to convey (in his brutally honest take on romance) and didn’t view it as another star vehicle. After all, it’s not easy to digest any film that shuns the idea of eternal love.


As Orange hits screens again today commemorating Ram Charan’s birthday, the euphoria is unmatched. Tickets were sold out in minutes for 8 am shows. The more’s to the film beyond the star-pull. Harris Jayaraj’s music is a strong binding force that has contributed to the recall value. Unlike most romances, the aim of the man isn’t merely to make the girl fall for him - it’s about being honest to each other while the relationship lasts.

The bittersweet truths around love land through casual humour. There are potpourri of relationships beyond the lead couple to suggest the various hues of love. Ram’s (Ram Charan) sister and brother-in-law (Manjula, Sanjay Swaroop) are on the cusp of divorce, his friend’s (Praneeth) love life is built on a foundation of lies, Jaanu’s (Genelia) parents lead a loveless marriage and another neighbour (Naga Babu) holds onto his partner despite their frequent quarrels.

There are two challenges with a protagonist like Ram - he takes pride in being honest and he also suggests romance run of out fuel quickly. More than a love story, Orange is the coming of age tale of Ram. When the neighbour cautions him ‘kaaranalatho migilipokudadu,’ he realises the importance of holding onto relationships and not be left with reasons behind his breakups.

It’s not easy to arrive at a simplistic explanation of love while dealing with a forthright protagonist like Ram. Bommarillu Bhaskar tries to achieve that with this heartfelt dialogue - Samudram antha prema chudalante..Jeevitham chivaranchullone chudagalam..ala chudalante okka ammaine preminchali.. (If you want to experience the oceanic depths of love, you’ll find it only in the final stretches of your must love only woman to witness that)

There’s no doubt that audiences in 2023 are more equipped and ready to handle a film like Orange than in 2010. However, looking at the film now, one feels the director was trying too hard to sell his theory of ‘honest’ romance repetitively and it’s tiring to watch them beyond a point. The humour too, more so in the first hour, hasn’t aged well. The fights neither drive the narrative forward nor provide any cinematic highs.

Orange works like a dream post intermission - there’s no beating around the bush. Genelia’s Jaanu is past her ‘bubble’ phase, attains clarity of what she seeks in a relationship and her verbal banters with Ram are conceived smartly. Sequences where Ram drives a car without headlights and plays ‘truth or dare’ with a bunch of lovestruck youngsters are quite entertaining. The flashback later does a fine job in justifying Ram’s approach towards love.

Beyond the commercial frills, Bommarillu Bhaskar chases the truth of the characters and their moments in his story and it’s not hard to understand why the film is relevant today. When Ram Charan is labelled a ‘national star’, who has a Rangasthalam and an RRR behind him, it’s good to go back in time and watch a film where he’s mostly an actor sans any baggage trying to prove himself.

(Orange is playing in theatres and can also be streamed on Disney+ Hotstar)

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