Ramula Is The Saving Grace
What Is the Film About?
Pitta Kathalu, as the title signifies, is an anthology series. It comprises different stories with a common theme of love, passion, dejection and hope, but not necessarily in the same order. These emotions happen in unique setups and ways.
There are many known and unknown faces who are part of the movie. Among all of them, Saanve Megghana and Abhay Bethiganti easily stand out. They are the ones that look real in a rooted sense. Both stand out in their unique ways delivering the fun and dramatic moments with equal ease.
The rest of the actors which includes names like Amala Paul, Satyadev, Jagapathi Babu, Shruti Haasan, Lakshmi Manchu, Eesha Rebba, Srinivasa Avasarala etc. None managed to raise over the clichéd and mundane content given to them. Some do the ‘expected’ well, but it is neither memorable nor impactful in a genuine sense.
A couple of relatively unknown supporting characters from one ‘short story’ stay in one’s mind even after the completion of the entire movie. The fact that they do and not all the names mentioned above should make things clear regarding the overall impression. Sanjith Hegde fits the character but lacks the menace it needed to propagate.
Tharun Bhascker, Nandini Reddy, Nag Ashwin and Sankalp Reddy direct the individual short stories. They are all new-age Telugu filmmakers who debuted in the last decade with each providing a unique and sensational work, at the least. The expectations are high, considering the names involved. Unfortunately, the end result is disappointing.
Easily, and by far, the best of the lot in the anthology film is Ramula by Tharun Bhascker. It has all the elements trademarking a Tharun Bhascker film in a condensed format. It is like his short films made before the cinematic entry. Only different being now it is made with better quality control.
Right from the opening, Ramula hooks and takes us into the narrative. The characters of the lead, the supporting cast all register. The only weak link here is the ‘big’ name who doesn’t come across as organic to the setup. Otherwise, even the mike man, stage co-ordinator etc. also clicks.
The ending goes well with the shorts’ theme, but somehow it doesn’t have the punch in the gut feeling. It is due to the predictability. The actors, writing, and direction hold the attention, but the story itself isn’t engaging.
Frankly, it is difficult to say or select the second-best of the lot. None of them is. They are all jointly fourth-best, which should help indicate the vast gulf between the first and the rest.
Each of the other short stories has individual moments offering something unconventional, but as a whole none impresses.
Nag Ashwin goes bonkers with his futuristic imagination, but it has no soul and comes with a predictable twist. Considering the challenges posed by a short format, kudos to the vision and set work, but narratively it is painfully predictable. Could this be a demo work for his upcoming sci-fi film with Prabhas? Well, then it should serve as a wakeup call. He has to up his game big time.
The lack of ‘soul’ is a common issue among the three, as well. It is more apparent in the works of Nandini Reddy and Sankalp Reddy. The former bundles all the clichés into a singular narrative whereas the latter seems clueless on how to proceed with a relationship drama which isn’t in his terrain. It ends just when one thinks it is beginning to take off.
Overall, only one amongst the four Pitta Kathalu is worth the time. The rest are bits and pieces type with clichés, confusion and predictability rolled in. Watch it if you don’t mind any of those just to see what these ‘big’ names are up to.
Music and Other Departments?
Musically too Ramula stands out with neat work by Vivek Sagar. It has his typical style and flavour and makes one actually check out for the music. It isn’t out yet, though. The next one is Nag Ashwin’s xLife. — composes the music. It has a unique sound and ‘sound design’. It is neatly in tune with the world. Everything about Meera felt so generic, and it includes the ‘music’, as well. Pinky is the last one on the list due to its seemingly ‘non-existent music’.
Music (Ramula, xLife)
Casting (Ramula, xLife)
No Emotional Connect
Each short has intriguing bits which could be explored in different directions. The ‘Writers Imagination, in Meera, for example. Instead of the tried and tested routine, an alternative approach keeping the core theme in mind would have been better.
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, But Very Few Parts
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, But With Huge Reservations
Pitta Kathalu Review by Siddartha Toleti