Shekar Kammula has somehow did it again. I watched only four films of Shekar Kammula in a theatre: Aanand, Godavari, Leader and recently, Love Story. Now, I cannot say what’s the best movie of his career. The film became real; the characters true to the core; and the story cannot be more honest.
First of everything, there were three issues Shekar Kammula was fighting against. One, the movie should compete with shallowly made films like Uppena, which solely relies on one character, or one scene, or one particular revelation or arc. The film should be more: it should be an experience, it should become more relatable, and more of a captivating. The second, the movie portraying the caste and honor killing dynamic. That was where the movie was centered. Caste should not be stereotyped: the characters and their actions should be fresh – not in the sense they should be deliberately designed as new or superficial, but, they should be more real than just being mere models mimicking something obvious. They should be real characters mouthing real things which might really happen anywhere. The third obstacle was, the title itself: love story. A love story. Again. The era of love stories is at dusk. People are fed up, or that is what I would say. They almost saw it all. All the shine in the eyes, flicker of smiles, ripples on skin, dancing feet, singing voices, and flushed faces. Now: a love story again! How can anyone make an unpredictable love story? If it cannot be all unpredictable, how it be made at lease semi-alien? Kammula should know how!
It is my upset attitude or my deliberate dislike towards the film, I do not know, but I cannot stop comparing Love Story with Uppena. A deep desire to teach Uppen how to be a good film by showing Love Story’s example is high. Basing on one single act, Uppena rushes towards the end. The whole movie was spent foreshadowing the climax. All the time. It was all and always about cutting that penis off. The characters were shallow, story flawed, every logic defied, Uppena is a story of a boy who watches a girl all his life, but about a girl who doesn’t have any knowledge about this ardent follower for decades, but loves him at the first sight: no reference latter about his adventures and escapades to follow her for decades! No character was developed and nothing that was close to a real human was left in the film. Films are generally made with real people in settings, but Uppena was made in real place with setting like people!
Alright! Enough of the other movie. I shall come to Love Story.
People are real. Everyone has a story. Everyone has his or her own depth, understanding, struggle, and rebellions. Everyone is trying to do something with their life. To create something for themselves. People don’t just sit back and spend time to come into age and fall in love. They may do that too, but along with something else. They just cannot do ONLY that! That was how it happens in Love Story. More than half of the movie, the protagonists of the story are not even searching for chemistry. They make their lives, they take chances, work together, and no foreshadowing of ‘love is going to happen’ and all kind of stuff. By the time they feel like feeling towards each other, we love them both so much, we want them to like each other. We feel like helping each other to get together. Shekar Kammula doesn’t rush at all. A few reviews are saying that there was some lag in the movie’s first half. But i think it s just their shallow expectation that the hero and heroine will fall for each other in the first fifteen minutes and will have duets all along!
In the ear of exposed honor killings, the theme of lovers being brutalized by parents is being abused, like, used to bring the cathartic feeling forcefully, because that would help luring the audience to customers. It is more like a food item new in the market: make more before it is a bore. Sairat is a classic. But Dhadak? WHy did they make it at all? Then Uppena! Alright, I will say it doesn’t exist. The dreadful air in the movie is to be created by the movie itself, the atmosphere should feel frightening rather than bass voices and machetes’ hung around! Once a friend asked me, listening my prolong critique at Uppena, “If you had to make that film, do you think you would do better?” my answer was obvious: “No! I cannot make it better. For, I shall not make the movie at all!” But Love Story too, I shall not make, for the soul of the film cannot be recaptured in all its original sense again. Love Story is an experience one should simply cherish, and be quiet after it.
I particularly loved the way the characters travel with each other. The way they feel comfortable around each other, how they build confidence together, and the way they break and make each other stronger. But the movie doesn’t end at themselves, neither they surrender to morale, nor to the supposed hardships, the dimensions of their lives are wide. They have many more things in life than that are shown on screen. With time they have much to explore: hidden angsts, built up frustrations, societal and domestic sickness; they both have their own share of issues, they both share the screen and tale in equal parts, and by their own outer and inner characters, their decisions are shaped. No decision is took to reach a pre-meditated or expectable ending. The decisions are instinctive, furious, and rebellious. But they were understood and accepted by each other with a wonderful level of compassion without complain: and that, that makes them more humane, and a beautiful couple. Travelling together, growing together, and shaping each other’s fortune, will and ability has been a theme neglected in love stories. The ceaseless attempts to convert one magical moment into love, or one glimpse of beauty into love, one act of heroism into love, or converting a childhood friendship into love are boring! For me, Love Story does it exact and totally right!
The caste dynamic has been touched often, but dug not so deeply. But it was dug enough for their lives to run and be ruined. It was not abused or over sympathized. Caste was suggestive, but at the same time burdening, exactly the way it works in real life.
All and all, it was a stellar performance by Sai Pallavi, as always, and also by Naga Chaitanya: he was lovely and awesome, and I cannot over emphasize the role of music in making the picture. One can watch the film and categorize it as a Musical rather than a Movie!
Waiting to watch it again!