There are hardly any takeaways from the show that tries to sell feminism using below-the-belt humour
Ritu, a business school passout, who is rising in the ranks of a corporate company, is emotionally blackmailed to leave her job to marry a match chosen by her parents. A free-spirited Jhanvi, who prefers to take life as it comes, indulging in relationships sans labels, feels stifled when her mother forces her to meet a potential bridegroom Pratyush. Indu, raised by her uncle and aunt, is irritated whenever she's reminded of her age and constantly blamed for being too choosy about her life partner. Will this trio find a way out of their tricky situation?
Why is it so hard for Telugu screenwriters/filmmakers to come up with fully realised urban female characters? 3 Roses is another pale reminder of what's exactly wrong with female characters in Telugu mainstream shows/films and why actresses rarely get meaty parts here. Either they are 'sati-savitris' clothed from top to bottom in saris, duty-bound as a homemaker, making coffee, with a thilak on the forehead or are sleeping around with men, discussing sex, uttering cuss words for shock effect and boozing in a bar. There's absolutely no middle road, complexity or scope for any nuance.
The show does not attempt to lend an identity to any of its three female leads beyond the men. The male gaze is quite obvious; the Maruthi brand of humour (he is the show runner) and the exaggerated conversations between characters and conflicts are tiresome to watch. Forget the debate about these nuances, even the plot never takes off. The writing is so generic and uninteresting, the treatment hardly realistic, heavily borrowing from tropes in commercial cinema. It's just plain boring.
If at all, one has to pick the most tolerable of the three characters (mind you, this is a 'best of the worst' scenario), you would probably pick Ritu (Eesha). Purely for the reason that it depicts how women are forced to leave their flourishing corporate jobs, sacrificing their professional excellence for marriage, it feels relatable. One among the 'pelli choopulu' scenes, where the potential bridegroom is surrounded by elderly women and neighbours, is interesting, but the show creators fall short of ideas to end the thread aptly.
The Eesha Rebba-Viva Harsha track generates a few laughs, though the comedy is filled with double entendre, sexual innuendos. The regular references to Viva Harsha's colour tone and the comparisons to the Adivasis are in poor taste. The equation between Jhanvi (Payal Rajput) and her ever-affectionate father (Ravi Varma) who trusts his daughter in any given situation, warrants your attention briefly. The portrayal of Satyam Rajesh as a 40s something man battling several health issues may have generated intrigue on a paper level but doesn't translate well enough on the screen.
There's very little in the on-screen camaraderie between the women for the viewer to invest in their friendship. The acting is over-the-top. Eesha Rebba isn't always comfortable in her costumes, though she's the only actress among the female trio who genuinely tries to get into the skin of the role. Payal Rajput's performance is as superficial as the role given to her - she appears disinterested. Shockingly, it's Purnaa who is close to being unbearable. She hams like there's no tomorrow and is miscast for the part.
The supporting actors don't have much to do. Hema looks a tad too young to appear as a mother to a 25-year-old woman. The Middle Class Melodies-find Goparaju Ramana is increasingly getting similar roles as a dominating father - it's high time he moves beyond the stereotype. Viva Harsha is earnest though it's disappointing that his brand of demeaning humour always has to revolve around his modest appearance. Bigg Boss Contestant Sarayu's cameo is just about passable.
And all for those who sensed an obvious similarity between 3 Roses and Four More Shots Please in the promos - trust me, you wouldn't want to get into that discussion at all - this isn't even worthy of a comparison. It may not be entirely right to judge a show's potential halfway with several threads left hanging, but the first four episodes don't offer us much hope (or respite).
3 Roses has nothing going for it - casting, performances, plot, comedy or the screenplay. The series may claim to revolve around three women but it can't escape the male gaze in its writing. Though the final set of the show's episodes is due to release next week, there's nothing much in the content to make us look forward to it.