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Aa Ammayi Gurinchi Meeku Cheppali review: An overwrought, talky film about films

Mohana Krishna Indraganti’s second ode to cinema after Sammohanam neither has potent drama nor does it paint an accurate picture of industry realities

2/5rating
Aa Ammayi Gurinchi Meeku Cheppali review: An overwrought, talky film about films
Aa Ammayi Gurinchi Meeku Chappali
  • Srivathsan Nadadhur

Last Updated: 03.16 AM, Sep 26, 2022

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Story:

A maverick filmmaker Naveen, who has scored six hits in a row, is looking to reinvent himself. When in search of inspiration, he comes across a box of film reels that helps him discover an aspirant actress with the aura of a diva. When Naveen digs deep for answers, he realises the girl is a doctor - Alekhya, who has a very low opinion of the industry. He wants to cast her in his next film and will do anything to fulfil his wish. However, there’s another side to the girl’s story he isn’t aware of.

Review:

There’s no doubt that the film industry can serve as a compelling, colourful backdrop to tell stories, given the enigma surrounding how it functions. There are no rules, there’s business, there’s craft, there’s madness and (while borrowing a line from the film) ‘nothing succeeds like success.’ However, when a filmmaker sets out to capture the common man's fascination for showbiz (or the lack of it) in a plot, he needs to make it relatable for the average viewer and not alienate him.

In what filmmaker Mohana Krishna Indraganti calls his second instalment in a possible trilogy on films (the earlier film was Sammohanam), he marries a parent-daughter melodrama with a thread around a top director’s hunt for his muse. Indraganti populates this world with characters that are both critical and fond of cinema and also makes a case for why one shouldn’t generalise the industry. What should’ve been a fond tribute to the medium turns into an exercise in indulgence quickly.

In the initial hour, Aa Ammayi Gurinchi Meeku Cheppali shows how far a director can go to cast someone of his choice in a film. On the same front, it also shows how this can be interpreted as creepy behaviour too. The plot is simplistic and Indraganti is at times, desperate to look at the industry in a sympathetic light. For every character that points a finger at the industry, there’s a dialogue to defend it. It’s as if the filmmaker found an outlet to vent his frustration and bust various myths around the industry through this plot.

The narrative ceases to progress after the premise is established. The director is heavily dependent on catchy one-liners, dialogues to run the show and the film is so talky that you wonder if this is a stage drama captured on camera. It’s important that you make a film for the right reasons and not use it to showcase your scholarship or writing/literary prowess. The indulgent references to cinema greats, legendary Telugu authors are too tiring and flabby to grab a viewer’s attention.

The final nail in the coffin is a terrible pre-intermission twist and Aa Ammayi Gurinchi.. never recovers from that setback. When the focus shifts to the (melo)drama between a daughter and their overly protective parents, the film runs out of steam and resorts to time-tested, done-to-death conflicts to prolong the inevitable. Much like Sammohanam, Indraganti reduces his leading lady to a vulnerable damsel in distress who needs to be rescued. There’s very little reason to anticipate the finale.

Good editing could’ve gone a long way in salvaging the film – it isn’t merely only about trimming the narrative but you sense the need to make it more coherent. You can’t keep going around in circles, underestimating that audiences wouldn’t know it. Even in terms of plot twists – the film is very repetitive. There are multiple suicides and instances of an actress falling for a director.

In situations where the film mocks industry norms in a light-hearted vein, a director needs to be self-aware of the limitations of his story and not fall into the same trap. Raj and DK’s lesser-known Hindi film Happy Ending had committed the same mistake too. The filmmaker’s excuse to squeeze an item number into a sensitive story is flippant at best. In terms of writing, Aa Ammayi Gurinchi Meeku Cheppali is the least imaginative among the director’s works.

Despite Sudheer Babu’s best efforts towards a restrained performance, the result isn’t very satisfying. Krithi Shetty is too young an actor to shoulder a role with such heavy drama. Vennela Kishore and Rahul Ramakrishna’s characters are entertaining initially, but they overstate the obvious and only serve as a distraction from the lead pair.

Srikanth Iyengar’s theatrical, hammy performance doesn’t help the film’s tone while Kalyani Natarajan is strictly okay. Srinivas Avasarala’s cameo is charming while it lasts. PG Vinda’s cinematography and Vivek Sagar’s music are passable but can’t mask the film’s deficiencies.

Verdict:

Neither does the film pay good homage to showbiz nor does it engage you with the drama. Krithi Shetty is a talent to watch out for but Aa Ammayi Gurinchi Meeku Cheppali requires extensive heavy lifting to be salvaged. A crispier narrative may have helped as an ideal damage control measure.

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