I haven’t been too impressed with the last few Puri Jagannadh films I’ve seen, but I was hopeful that this latest offering starring my favourite hero might offer something a little different. But although the film is visually very pretty and both Bunny and Amala Paul do their best with their respective characters, the story has far too many plot holes and is frequently too unbelievable to make Iddarammayilathi anything other than disappointing. While there is the expected excellent dancing from the stylish star, some good fight scenes and Bunny and Amala make a sweet couple, it’s just not enough to make up for the screechy, irritating Catherine Tresa and a dire comedy track which almost completely derails the film in the second half.
The film follows Akanksha (Catherine Tresa), the daughter of a prominent politician in India (Rao Ramesh) who moves to Barcelona to study psychology. She has a fantastic room which just happens to contain a box belonging to the last tenant. Inside is a diary which tells the story of a romance between Sanju (Allu Arjun) and the room’s previous occupant, Komali (Amala Paul). The romance is played out in flash-back as Akanksha talks endlessly to herself about the diary’s revelations and frankly seems far too interested in the details of a stranger’s love life.
Bunny looks great as Sanju Reddy, a singer/dancer who performs with his band in the streets of Barcelona and is surprisingly successful considering that the band seems to perform exclusively in Telugu in a Spanish/Catalan speaking city. He’s also pretty nifty when it comes to the obligatory biffo although his prowess in this area is never really explained – but then neither is anything else so at least there is consistency in the lack of elucidation. Sanju falls in love with Komali who is in Barcelona to learn classical music from Brahmi – again, completely nonsensical but there is even more absurdity to follow. Amala does a good job as a demure and rather shy violinist apart from being completely unable to fake playing a violin. She does look stunning though in some beautiful costumes and has good chemistry with Bunny so at least the romance part of the story is believable.
For a change I really liked Bunny’s various outfits too, which aren’t as over the top as his last few films and do appear fashionable with a European touch. Most of the songs by Devi Sri Prasad are fairly average, but the choreography is good if not exceptional and Bunny as always proves he really can dance. However a dance off between the classically influenced Brahmi and the more rock and roll Sanju would have been much better if the backing dancers had been able to keep up with the choreography. There is a short tribute to Chiru’s Gangleader which got the biggest cheers from the Melbourne crowd, but this was my favourite:
The love story ends abruptly in the diary so Akanksha tracks down Sanju to find out what happened and learns of a tragedy that occurred when Sanju and Komali crossed paths with a gangster (Shawar Ali). Shawar Ali has to be the dullest and most incompetent villain ever and it’s surely only by chance that Komali is the only person who sees him execute one of his gang on an incredibly public beach in broad daylight. Unbelievably, it takes all the might of his gang of assorted thugs, sword-wielding ninjas and Subbaraju in a rather dapper beanie to deal with one petite classical violinist and her guitar playing boyfriend!
While Akanksha shrilly indulges in flagrant scenery chewing and desperately tries to persuade Sanju to fall in love with her, Sanju has his own agenda for revenge which ends up with a surprisingly good and effective plot twist with a flashback to some of those awesome sword fighting techniques from Badrinath. Overall, apart from the woeful comedy scenes with Brahmi and Ali, the second half moves faster and is a little better than the first, although that may just be that I stopped worrying about the lack of logic and settled back to enjoy Bunny’s dancing and the fact that he does look as if he can actually play a guitar. The fight scenes by Kecha are also beautifully choreographed and appear more like dancing than fighting, an effect which is heightened by Sanju’s total lack of emotion as he calmly and efficiently despatches everything and everyone that is thrown at him.
Iddarammayilatho looks beautiful and cinematographer Amol Rathod makes the most of the location in Barcelona, showcasing some of the beautiful buildings in the city, but the film is let down by a complete lack of logic in the story and very little in the way of character development . Although the cast in general put in good performances, most of the supporting mothers, fathers etc have very little to do and both Subbaraju and Srinivas Reddy are chronically underused. Brahmi is fine in the first half but the comedy with Ali is totally pointless and almost as irritating as Catherine Tresa. Perhaps understanding the dialogue might have made Akanksha a more appealing character, but somehow I doubt it. I still enjoyed the film, but more for the location, action scenes and dance numbers which were all good. Overall, Iddarammayilatho is worth a look for Allu Arjun fans and anyone who likes movies with pretty scenery and great architecture.