OTTplay Logo
settings icon
profile icon

Baanadariyalli review: Ganesh’s story about love is a lot of fluff and little substance

Baanadariyalli, directed by Preetham Gubbi, also stars Rukmini Vasanth, Reeshma Nanaiah and Rangayana Raghu in pivotal roles. The film opens in theatres on September 28.

Baanadariyalli review: Ganesh’s story about love is a lot of fluff and little substance
Rukmini Vasanth and Ganesh's chemistry in the song is all the rage on social media

Last Updated: 09.43 AM, Sep 28, 2023


Story: It’s love at first sight for Siddharth (Ganesh), an uppinkai entrepreneur and aspiring cricketer, when he spots tree-hugger Leela (Rukmini Vasanth). Getting Leela to reciprocate those feelings is not enough – to truly win over the girl of his dreams, Siddharth has to also find a way into her father Vasu’s (Rangayana Raghu) heart. But then tragedy strikes, and the two men have to figure a way to navigate through their grief together.


Review: How does one write a spoiler-free review when you’ve just seen a film with a wafer-thin plot that you figured out in the first five minutes? That’s what I’ve been grappling with since last night after catching a premiere show of Golden Star Ganesh’s Baanadariyalli. This story about love is based on a single-line narration by cinematographer Preetha Jayaraman, which director Preetham Gubbi developed into a two-and-a-half-hour film. Now, this is not uncommon in film circles, but the problem here is that Preetham had very little to work on in terms of the ‘line’ he got. So, for the most part, what you get in Baanadariyalli is fluff.

For quite a while, a recurrent observation about Golden Star Ganesh has been that the actor’s films are formulaic, owing to which, his performances become repetitive. If it’s a Ganesh film, he’s got to make audiences laugh and cry, with romance thrown in the narrative (with one or more girls) for good measure. Baanadariyalli does not deflect from this fixed path. Here, as Sid/Siddu (Siddharth), he provides some laughs and boy-meets-girl cutesy moments, only to then have the story hurtle towards doom for the lovers. How he deals with the situation make up the tear-jerker moments. That’s about all there is for Ganesh in this film. The actor, of course, is a pro with this kind of setting and is his best as usual, but you cannot help but wish if only there was more to it.

Rukmini Vasanth is Leela, the love interest, who also sings for her special someone. She’s a former national-level swimmer, who now coaches young ones, in the film. For reasons best known to director Preetham, he also wanted the actress to learn surfing, a skill she enjoyed picking up, but one that has no overall bearing on the story. Take the Mangaluru bit out of the film and it makes no difference, because Baanadariyalli’s soul is in Kenya. Also, given how Leela’s arc ends, she could have held any other profession and still got the same outcome.

Rangayana Raghu, as Vasu, huffs and puffs his way through the film, especially in the African bits. He has a love/hate relationship with his inhaler, you see. Sid is on a mission in Kenya, and he needs Vasu also on board the plan. And so, begins the wildlife safari. If you thought that the trailer of the film felt like a National Geographic documentary, wait till you see the entirety of it play out. Preetham liberally pads up long, tedious, albeit beautiful shots of the African wild with a psychedelic trip, a mugging and even a kidnapping. Trust me, the last one is the most ridiculous of the lot. The soul of Baanadariyalli eventually ends up feeling like an all expenses paid holiday for the cast and crew.

Reeshma Nanaiah is Kadambari, a vlogger, who is blowing up daddy’s money for her many trips, one of which takes her to Kenya and makes her Sid and Vasu’s travel companion. The actress gets the raw end of the stick in this film. The rest of the supporting cast has precious little to do. Baanadariyalli’s biggest star is cinematographer Abhilash Kalathi, who unleashes the artist in him to present a visual spectacle. If only it was in a better film!

Verdict: At its core, Baanadariyalli is not as much about love as it is about the origin of the title. The popular song by the late Power Star Puneeth Rajkumar is integral to the film, but if that is its biggest strength, well, I rest my case.


    Get the latest updates in your inbox