C/o Kancharapalem Movie stands tall in the new wave of Telugu Cinema. Unlike other urban setup plots, this story exposes us to the rural encompassment. Interestingly and surprisingly, most of the actors are chosen from the real village Kancharapalem in the state of Andhra Pradesh where the entire shooting took place.
The movie opens with a sunrise and the plot is set in the village. As the Harikatha in the background plays, the scene opens with a person opening four frames of an old window early in the morning. The scene though is intriguing, visually attractive, it doesn’t make any sense to the audience. Little we would know that the director has not just opened the window frames, but wants to tell us four touching love stories.
The stories revolve around a 10-year-old kid Sundaram and his classmate cum crush Sunitha, an early twenties boy Joseph who falls in love with a Brahmin girl Bharghavi, a thirty-year-old man Gaddam and his love Saleema and a fifty-year-old Raju and a 42-year-old widow Radha. Every story is layered, woven beautifully breaking many barriers, stereotypes and beliefs.
In the puppy track between Sundaram and Sunitha, the director breaks the barrier of rich and poor, religious beliefs. Sweet conversations that start with “ee ammayi Sunitha”, “ee abbayi Sundaram”, the old style colorful lyrics book, the village accent of English is well blended to bring that freshness.
Joseph and Bharghavi’s unpleasant meetings slowly turn into happy moments that leads to love. As Joseph leaves the village in search of a stable livelihood, Bharghavi succumbs to the situation her father’s throws at her. A strong, outgoing, vehement character like Bharghavi giving up on her love is a little unconvincing but the director leave is upon us to find convincing answers without showing us explicitly the reasons.
The middle age love story is a sincere and honest love track and it raises the bar in all aspects. It is about how the charming wine shop worker Gaddam ingeniously falls in love with a prostitute just by looking at her eyes. A big salute to the director for writing a character like Gaddam, who doesn’t flinch or show an ounce of regret even after knowing that Saleema is a prostitute and he agrees to all her conditions to get married to her.
Another mini story revolves around an attender Raju, a newly transferred Oriya officer Radha and her daughter Aditi. Raju is a sensible man. One particular dialogue where he says “he doesn’t believe in God and he believes in Humans around him,” tells much about a person he is. Radha, a window falls for Raju after spending some time with her as Raju helps her learn Telugu, helps her with fitness tips and other errands. When Radha’s brother creates a ruckus, objects her wish to marry Raju, it is her feminist daughter who plays a vital role in taking the story ahead.
The first half of the movie appears to be moving at a low pace but the director pulls it off brilliantly in the second half. After some heartbreaks, misfortunes, loss, and tragedies, you wouldn’t know if you will be left with a smile or broken heart at the end. The last few minutes is gripping and the director successfully convinces us of the happenings, instils light in our wailing hearts and makes us accept the tragedies-giving the positive outlook to the story as well as a message to the audience. Overall, the director focuses on the subject of “love”, however, he blatantly touches societal stereotypes on religion, age, caste, community and class.
Kudos to the director for giving us the flavour of real-life characters, managing shooting with 86 inexperienced actors, bringing conversational humour, go-with-the-flow music and good cinematography. Special mention about the actors Mohan Bhagat, Praneeta Patnaik, Nithyashree Goru. The movie falls behind on some technical aspects yet it leaves you in awe, comes to your homes to stay with you forever.
C/o Kancharapalem is like the charming moon in the sky. Even with its spots, it radiates beauty and makes you fall in love.
Review by Sindhu Ravulapally.