- Critic's Rating - 7.0/107/10
Tharun Bascker’s first feature film, Pelli Choopulu, became a runaway hit and has gone on to achieve a cult status in the last two years. There were massive expectations from his second outing and also, the myth of ‘ one film wonder ‘ was lurking around the corner. Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi destroys this myth with a terrific opening sequence, promising a hell of a ride !
Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi is a story of 4 friends who have aspirations but are pretty laid-back about them, opting for career choices that are easier and more conventional. Karthik is a manager of a club and has agreed to his boss’s offer of marrying his daughter and owning a Club in the US. Vivek has been sulking over his break-up for 4 years. He wears dark sunglasses so people can’t see the pain in his eyes, or so he says. Kaushik is an aspiring actor, who works as a dubbing artist for a Telugu version of a NatGeo show. His dubbing portions are particularly hilarious. There’s the fourth friend, Upendra who is a wedding photographer. None of them love what they do. Vivek, a sullen character trying to get out of a break-up for 4 years, had written a love story for a short film they planned to make. But after the breakup he refuses to make a love story. He needs inspiration to write a Love story and is in no mood to love or write a love story after the breakup.
They happen to go on a Goa trip, where, a succession of incidents lead them to their original love, Short films. They set out to realize their dream of making a short film and submitting it in a competition . Thankfully the film does not end with these friends winning the competition or becoming great filmmakers. Ultimate this is a coming of age film that is treated with flair. But this is a coming of age film without any character defining moments. We know the characters, we understand the characters but there is not a solid conflict in them that provides an opportunity for character building and story arc. The film is always on the run, never boring you and constantly keeping you engaged in the lives of the characters but the film never really takes off into greatness. The only exception to this is Vivek, who is alcoholic, depressed and stubborn. He has buried the creativity in him and the aspirations of being a Filmmaker are drowned out by copious amounts of alcohol. How he gets himself back on track is the only convincing arc that is explored. Karthik also gives up on his monitory aspirations and realizes his true passion but there is no conviction in the way this character is written. The conflict stopping him from taking up his passion is not clearly established. This results in some unconvincing emotional moments at the end, which don’t hit the spot.
The humor in the film is similar to that of PelliChoopulu, a lot of alcohol and joblessness references but the new faces render a fresh feel to the comedy. All the performances are on point. Tharun opts for a similar treatment by keeping it realistic and colorful. The performance beautifully complement the treatment of the screenplay. The use of music is pretty good but the PelliChoopulu magic does not happen. This Soundtrack falls short of achieving the genius of PelliChoopulu. Yet, the performances, camera work and production design successfully create an experience that is devoid of any staleness. Telugu cinema is in dire need of the freshness Tharun Bhascker brings in.
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Tharun said that Ee Nagaraniki Emaindi is almost autobiographical as it reflects on the struggles he went through to break into filmmaking. Unfortunately, though an enjoyable experience, the life-like feeling comes in the way of this film becoming ‘ cinema ‘. After two hours of fun, barring a few comic moments, the taste of the film does not remain. Having said that this film is still an extremely enjoyable fare, but you wish it had enough substance to endure for longer, in your mind.