Vinay Rajkumar, Mallika Singh and Swathishta Krishnan bring this simple love story, about a musician in search of the girl who matches his heart's rhythm, to life
Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe Story: Music is everything to Athishay (Vinay Rajkumar) and it’s linked to the two dreams he has in life – become a music director and find the girl whose voice matches the rhythm of his heart. His search for this girl leads him to Madhura (Mallika Singh), a singer whose career blossoms after Athishay’s intervention. But then Athishay ends up fulfilling his grandmother’s ‘last wish’ and marries childhood friend Anuraga (Swathishta). While Athishay’s heart beats for Madhura, Anuraga is also on the lookout for the man of her dreams, an unknown figure who’d been a good Samaritan in a time of crisis. Will Athishay and Anuraga get what they truly desire?
Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe Review: Simple Suni has a reputation as a funny man; he’s got a wicked sense of humour and a knack for great one-line comedy. This is a trademark he carries into his films as well, even though his brand of cinema is not necessarily all-out comedy. There’s love, family dynamics, drama and emotions too, but these don’t always connect with his audience, while the comedy does. It is also why audiences tend to expect a start-to-finish laugh riot from him, but end up disappointed, when the fun runs out along the way and he turns his focus to tugging at their heartstrings.
With Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe, Suni declares that he’s here to tell a love story, which despite the title, is not all that simple and straightforward. He keeps the first half breezy and fun and then packs all the emotional drama into the second, in an almost complete tonal shift. The film is narrated by Athishay, as he takes us through his life and the people (extended family) in it – his father who runs a small sari shop in Chikpete, his homemaker mother, YouTube home chef star grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousins. There’s also go-getter journalist Anuraga who’s been living with them ever since her father, who was Athishay’s father’s partner, took his life unable to handle the financial burdens that come with running a business.
The problem, if one were to nit-pick, is that the twists that Suni introduces in Athishay’s love story are then tied up way too conveniently to steer the narrative to one end goal. At some point, way before the climax, you will figure out the direction he’s steering his story, but that’s okay, because the end result has a feel-good vibe to it. The cameos also didn’t have the desired effect – one was overdone and the other barely even registered.
I have been on Team Suni for a while and do believe that the filmmaker is a good entertainer; there’s always a genuine effort to try something different, even when the final package is a thematic trope. Suni is very aware of his audience – families – and puts his story together ensuring that everyone will have a good time. With Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe, I got what I was looking for – entertainment. Did the film warm the cockles of my heart? Perhaps not. But that’s not something I’d hold against it, what I will is that after promoting Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe as a musical, Veer Samarth’s album did not have half the magic that, say, Charan Raj did for Sapta Sagaradaache Ello. Yes, there are a few hummable tunes, but that’s about it, which felt like a bit of a downer.
Vinay Rajkumar has always been clear that what he’s chasing is recognition as an actor and not stardom; perhaps because he reckons that the latter will come to him as a byproduct of the former, and, of course, the lineage he hails from. There’s something about him that makes him perfect for the boy-next-door in middle-class setting stories and he seems perfectly at ease with that. Vinay’s got two heroines in the film, RadhaKrishn fame Mallika Singh and debutant Swatishta. Mallika gets her cutesy north Indian act right, but it’s Swathishta who gets the sweet deal. The supporting cast does their job well, especially Rajesh Nataranga, as Athishay’s father.
Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe verdict: Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe is the kind of film that you should approach with zero expectations – none whatsoever, not from the director or the cast. Remember, it’s a simple love story, nothing more, nothing less. Suni and team deliver on that promise.