Hours, days and now even months after watching Arjun Reddy, it’s hard to shake off its effect. It’s like a hangover, in a good way though. It’s been years since telugu cinema witnessed something this radical, maybe after Ram Gopal Varma’s “Shiva”.
It’s a boy-meets-girl story. The boy is brilliant in academics and later, a sure-footed surgeon. But he’s also a deep person and has anger management issues.
Both the lead characters Arjun (Vijay Devarakonda) and Preeti (Shalini Pandey, an impressive debutant) are etched out so well that you empathise with them and hope Arjun finds a way out of the abyss.
Vijay owns every moment on screen. Like Arjun Reddy Deshmukh, Devarakonda knows no fear. In a scene that signals his fall after his first drug overdose, you see him with no control. No image-conscious actor would do that.
Overview: The film moves between Mangalore and Hyderabad, unravelling chapters of protagonist’s life. The narrative is free of cinematic twists and turns. The intense drama shakes up as it unfolds. Arjun spews expletives, bashes up people and the couple isn’t shy of excessive PDA and making love. But all these are shot without vulgarism.
The couple shares a very close relationship for years but later break up as Preeti’s dad gets her married to a boy in her caste. This leaves a very strong and brutal impression on Arjun who becomes an alcoholic and drug addict. Rest of the story showcases the journey of Arjun as to how he regains his senses back to normal.
Arjun could be interpreted as a modern day Devdas, but he lives life more dangerously. The film doesn’t justify inherent temper, thankfully.
He comes from a well-to-do family with sensitive parents, brother and grandmother. There’s excellent support from his friends, Rahul Ramakrishna (Shiva) as the buddy is impactful.
As we watch Arjun despair in self-inflicted pain, we wish someone had counselled him on anger management in his early years. But now as he sinks deeper and all pleas fail, his grandmother (Kanchana, in a lovely role) understands his plight and says “Suffering is personal, let him suffer”.
My take: This is pretty much love-at-first sight since Arjun announces his love to the crowd by delivering the epic dialogue “Aa pilla ante nak eshtam…” in a language that’s not understood to the lecturer. Takes a lot of love, depth and courage for a man to do that.
Their love blossoms almost seamlessly. As the movie goes on, most of us secretly wish we had THAT kind of special-someone in life.
As Preeti is Arjun’s junior, Arjun completes his final year and has to leave the college and goes to Mussoorie for his internship by bidding that hardest goodbye to the love of his life.
Preeti in just 15 days starts missing Arjun badly since they’re so used to seeing each other everyday(live in relationship), decides to go to Mussoorie and surprise him.
Arjun despite being happy to see her, he says, “pichi lesinda Preeti neku? Asalu intha dooram ela vachavu?”
She innocently says “flight lo”, and he like a thorough gentleman takes her bag and says “chudu red ga ela ayindo”, and they hug.
This song “Dhooram- Mangalore to Mussoorie” is My favourite best. Because their love only gets stronger with that distance & they become inseparable. Their love only grows as the days, months and seasons pass.
After they’re settled in their respective careers, they decide to confess their love to their parents. From here all the drama begins.
Due to some external and some self caused conflicts & confusion, they separate. Preeti gets married to another boy of her parents choice like I already mentioned in the overview. Arjun stoops too low in life and puts himself into the darkest and deepest stage of life.
At each stage, questions arise- can Arjun be trusted to save lives on the operation table?The in-house court proceedings are the defining moments. Is there hope? A turning point? The film takes its time to arrive to a logical conclusion.
The length isn’t much of a bother in this compelling story brought to life by Raj Thota’s cinematography and Radhan’s music that varies from classical strains to more trips beats. Kamal Kamaraju, Sanjay Swaroop and Priyadarshi chip in with brief but good parts.
The director Sandeep Reddy Vanga dedicates this film to those in love, and we’re tempted to ask if it was inspired by someone. The film is too raw and real to be absolutely fictional.
The director said in many interviews that Arjun Reddy is surely a celebration of sadness.
On the whole Arjun Reddy is a new age Telugu cinema which has been never attempted before. It is intense, hard-hitting and quite adulterated with its intent. This is a break up saga.
With such great story, screenplay, dialogues, visuals, bgm, chemistry, intensity and sincerity with which the team made this epic. Arjun Reddy still stands my favourite film this year.