A Middling Yet a Refreshing Take on Romance
Skin and swear: Contains situations of on-screen intimacy with usage of strong language
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Comedy, Romance|
What Is the Story About?
Krishna is an aimless engineering graduate who’s madly in love with his college senior Sathya, though his possessiveness gets the better of him, eventually resulting in a breakup. It doesn’t take him so long to find love, in the form of his college junior Radha. Romance blossoms for a few months, but the relationship isn’t as steady when Krishna shifts to Bengaluru after bagging a job. He ends up meeting Sathya again in the city. Despite the initial awkwardness, the two hit a sweet spot. Krishna is confused with his loyalties and yet, he doesn’t want to choose one over the other.
Siddhu Jonnalagadda, though less convincing as a college student, is in his element as a software engineer who struggles to find a balance in his romantic life. His comic timing is refreshingly subtle, as he slips into the skin of the role effortlessly and is a picture of poise in situations that mark his transformation. It’s not an immensely likeable character for a protagonist, nevertheless extremely interesting.
As a 20s something girl who chooses passion over career, Shraddha Srinath cakewalks through the role and one feels that the film has barely tested her mettle at all. Yet she gives it all and tries to lend an element of dignity to the character Sathya despite its obvious eccentricities, and comes up with a confident performance. Shalini Vadnikatti’s part isn’t established with great clarity and the impact, naturally, goes for a toss. Seerat Kapoor may only have a brief part to play in the film, but the characterisation of Rukhsar is an eye-opener for a female protagonist and you want to see more of her as the film draws to a close. Actor Sampath sheds his antagonist avatar as Krishna’s father though his character doesn’t have much meat. The same holds for Samyuktha Hornad and Jhansi as well. Harsha Chemudu is the mandatory best friend of the protagonist and it’s not surprising anymore that he’s here to provide comic relief alone.
‘There’s a thin line between comedy and drama. I think you’re crossing it,’ says a friend of the protagonist Krishna when he realises the latter is a mess with his idea of romance (which is refreshingly expansive). In fact, director Ravikanth Perepu makes it a point to never cross that thin line while making his second film ‘Krishna and his Leela’. He’s incredibly sure of what he wants the film to ‘feel’ like. The film prefers to be light-hearted (and not lightweight) and breezy even though there are a lot of potentially-dramatic situations.
Krishna And His Leela, though apparent that it is about the romantic escapades of its protagonist is as much his coming-of-age story. You see Krishna evolve through his relationships, from being a desperate teenager to a mature, level headed man over the two-hour duration. The film told through the eyes of a haplessly confused protagonist is loaded with edgy conversations that lend itself to many humorous sequences.
The first hour though, frankly, feels vague. There are intermittent flourishes in the story as Krishna, from being madly in love with his college senior Sathya moves onto another relationship with a junior Radha. He is friends with another woman Rukhsar, a guiding light amid the turbulence in his life. (please don’t tell me the part refers to Rukmini and ignore the Krishna-Radha-Sathya(bhama) mythological parallels please, it’s not worth the effort) Krishna’s romantic life takes drastic turns as he goes back and forth between the two women.
The on-screen romances clearly lack depth. It feels like the protagonist is persistently on a rebound with the women in his life. His world seems shallow and it’s hard to empathise for him. There’s a tiring cliché of the guy’s confusion with his romance being traced to his dysfunctional family and his father’s past. However, despite the film’s obvious problems, Ravikanth Perepu and Siddhu show their acumen as smart screenwriters. The characters aren’t exactly imaginative, but the director-writer duo never fails to come up with extremely clever situations. The screenplay is terrific when the film transitions into a love triangle.
Despite the predictable premise, there’s a novel twist to sequences as the guy is sandwiched between his relationships. What’s interesting is the protagonist’s lack of remorse throughout the story. It would have been fascinating had the filmmaker stretched the envelope in introducing a throuple in Telugu cinema. Yet, that doesn’t take away the fact that Krishna and his Leela does a terrific job in un-antagonising the idea of a protagonist being in love with more than one person at the same time. The ending is still a good job done.
Perhaps, the director went too hard on himself when Krishna refers to his book and says, ‘I’m not trying to send any message through this. It’s just my life’. Krishna and his Leela is a refreshing take on romance and commands a watch for the sincerity with which it puts its idea across. It’s a welcome departure for Ravikanth Perepu from the thriller space after Kshanam and his quest to expand his horizons certainly shows.
Music and Other Departments?
Though Krishna And His Leela isn’t Sricharan Pakala’s best as a composer, the neo-Carnatic twist to Krishna Nee Begane, Alaipayuthey, Muddugare Yashoda, through the film make for a pleasant listening experience. The background score is reasonably peppy and energetic. The film moves between three locations – Vizag, Hyderabad and Bengaluru- visually and the cinematographer may have wanted to do more to give an identity to the places. Beyond a few montages, the film deserved more locational flavour. The editing is innovative at places – notice the sequence where the protagonist is in a soup and the frame cuts to a mridangam being played in a social gathering. The writing in the second hour is the film’s biggest strength – it’s progressive, light hearted and there’s no unnecessary sermonising.
Innovative idea and the light-hearted treatment
Lacks emotional depth
Not many interesting characters
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Krishna and His Leela Review Review by Binged Bureau
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