Chandamama Kathalu

‘Chandamama Kathalu”, is the Telugu anthology film directed by Praveen Sattaru, casting Naresh, Aamani, Lakshmi Manchu, Chaitanya Krishna, Krishnudu and Richa Panai. The film brings out the stories of dejected lover – a window who is reunited with her boy friend – a model who was betrayed by her husband – a greedy beggar – a street smart villager – a struggling bachelor – a lustful story and a dotting dad, who is worried about his daughter battling chronic illness. The film depicts as on how these sub plots are connected in the name of LOVE. The film is an anthology of eight different stories that revolve around Love – Greed – Emotion.

As much as the film is about poetic justice, it is equally about incompleteness of life. The film silently tries to take sides and be preachy on what’s good and what’s not. But, the exercise isn’t entirely dedicated to it and doesn’t directly impose the same.

The story of Chandamama Kathalu is definitely new in Tollywood. It will create a new trend. The screenplay is good. All the artistes helped the movie in their own way

Sarathi played by Kishore is a struggling writer who sets out to write a story about life. He was the award winning writer .He has a daughter named Kaveri who is diagnosed with Leukemia and he needs money for her treatment. He has no properties and in this process he abandons his writing project. How he tries to earn money for her treatment is the main story and after failing to raise money needed for her treatment only to realize that he’s merely playing his part in the meta-narrative of life. There are other seven stories which are interlinked.

The other stories include of a Lisa Smith a model played by Lakshmi Manchu, A software Professional played by Krishnudu, A widow played by Aamani, a begger played by Krishnewara Rao, two college students, young Muslim lovers, a poor village couple . All these stories are interconnected

It’s the kind of ambitious experiment that falls in the “this is so cool because it has never been done before in Telugu cinema” – as remarkable as it sounds even our best films rarely stand out for originality at the idea level or execution – category. To put it bluntly it’s just another wannabe that’s perhaps about a decade too late to harbor such sentiments.

We’re just not there yet as far as our film making skills go – no doubting the filmmakers’ creative integrity. You actually want to root for the movie for it is quite a relief from our standard fare, but the end product we’re afraid is just too under whelming and even downright lame. Ironically in in trying hard to break away from the mainstream format the movie endorses to all the Tollywood stereotypes, whether in the character sketches, their conflicts and worse of all the resolution.

There seems to be an inherent problem with these new age Tollywood films though. Invariably they end up being inferior adaptations of path breaking Hollywood films. This one is inspired by the multiple narrative genre, sets out to package eight different stories into one grand meta-narrative. The intentions just don’t match up with the execution. Perhaps it’s just a know how issue or it’s akin to the birth pangs that a woman has to go through before delivering a beautiful baby…this one turns out to be a still born.

We have Sarathi, the ideal loving single father, a dreamer whose penny broke with a daughter who needs expensive medical treatment to stay alive.

Lakshmi Manchu played the role of the a supermodel who was once a top model but now who are waiting for opportunities. She lives in her past and not able to reconcile with the reality of her faded past glory. She showed the emotions perfectly and provides the plus point for the film

Then there is a beggar who saves up Rs 10 lakh so as to repossess a home he once owned. He just ends up dead on a footpath the day he’s about make the purchase. The beggar’s story is one of the main highlights of the film. Rao who plays the beggar does not speak much, but he is the soul of the film,

In what seems like an indulgent attention to detail her decline is portrayed through the changing brands of cigarettes she smokes (from Davidoff lights to Goldflake king-size…it’s just a few rupees cheaper in anyway) and choice of alcohol (which drops from Greygoose to Smirn Off. But she continues being the free spirited diva. The characters must speak louder than the props shouldn’t they? Krishnudu is seen playing a 29-year-old fatso who has every card in the world but can’t get a girl to get married to. The underdogs are just as predictable. Raghu (Chaitanya Krishna) plays a lowly slum dweller that traps a minister’s daughter and hopes to get hitched to her via an mms he shoots while getting cozy with her.

Naresh and Amala play lovers who catch up after thirty long years. Naga Shurya a village bum who ends up as municipal worker because of an ill fated romance. Since these are the more recognizable stars among the cast they all have happy endings.

Haseena (Richa) dumps her boyfriend Ashraf (Abhijeet) for a seemingly rich businessman from Dubai only to find out that her beau is a taxi driver.

The performances all look too forced save Naga Shaurya, Abhijeet and Richa Panai. Naresh looks a total misfit as a cigar smoking NRI who speaks with a funny twang. The music is decent as is the writing what it lacks is the skill in story telling.
Suresh Raghutu’s cinematography is a comfy and pleasant eye feast. The film’s technical aspects including camerawork and the music have also won accolades from the critics.

On the whole “Chandamama Kathalu” is not a regular run-of-the-mill film. On the flip side, there is lack of pace in the first half and the audience might get bored in some scenes. “Although the film is boring, one can enjoy the non-obvious stuff.The anthology film might fail to impress fans of commercial pot boilers but if viewers want to watch something different this summer, they can try “Chandamama Kathalu.” Although there are loopholes in the film, it is worth watching once.