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Ms. En Scene: Telugu Cinema, Where Were You Hiding Your Gentle Lovers All This While?


Ms. En Scene – where Ranjani Krishnakumar concedes that cinema is life. Opinions expressed are those of the contributor, and not those of the company or its employees. 

One Friday, late in 2017, something about my Twitter timeline changed. Telugu people started proudly talking about a film — which is rare, I am sorry to say. “Oh my god, the new age of Telugu cinema has arrived. You must watch Arjun Reddy,” they were all saying.

The naïve filmbuff that I am, I found one Telugu friend and took him along to watch this film; you see, the subtitles didn’t arrive until a week later. I hadn’t the slightest clue what the film was about when I set out to watch it — yes, I am a fool like that.

Vijay Deverakonda in and as Arjun Reddy.

Sabbaa. Couldn’t bear the sight of that toxic Arjun Reddy fellow and his impossibilities. It took me several weeks to forget about it. No sooner than I forgot, this Lewd Cabal came and asked me to talk about it on their podcast. So, I watched it again and took notes and all — see above, if you don’t know me yet! With that, I had become quite numb to the Arjun Reddy kind of lover in Telugu cinema.

But I caught the Telugu cinema bug and watched more films. I watched Nene Raju Nene Mantri, because Rana. Mother-in-law insisted I watch Mahanubhavudu because, apparently, the hero is an obsessive, like me. Then I watched Savyasachi, because it is a film about a hand that has a mind of its own. I watched Naa Peru Surya because I liked to see Allu Arjun dance. And I watched Padi Padi Leche Manasu because I had Maari 2 hangover — you see Sai Pallavi and all.

All these films were enjoyable, I shouldn’t be mean. Intricately crafted fight scenes, dramatically satisfying dialogues, unnecessarily beautiful foreign locations — they all made for pretty sight.

But ‘love’ is a different matter altogether. For instance, in Padi Padi Leche Manasu, Surya (played by Sharwanand) stalks, lies to, manipulates and fools Vaishali (played by Sai Pallavi) to make her fall in love. Love, she does. And then, he gets some father-complex and dumps her. Good, I thought. But she wouldn’t let him go. That, this and a breakup happens and she ends up with retrograde amnesia. At this point, Surya wants her back in his life. Can you imagine what he says?


Ayyo, once itself I couldn’t bear. Again means, death. But by now, I was convinced of one thing: that Telugu film fellows have no clue how love works.

Yet, one Sunday afternoon, I was reluctantly scrolling through Amazon Prime and found Fidaa. It’s not like I hadn’t heard about the film. Several women have written many great things about Sai Pallavi’s role — how she dreams, chooses for herself, decided to stay where her heart is and all. So, figured, evvalavo pannittom, idha panna maatoma!

Forget Sai Pallavi, she is young, thin, dynamic and can dance like a dream — basically, nothing I can relate to. But, why did none of you tell me about this Varun Tej fellow ra?

I’ve not watched any of his other films, so, I’m going to pretend he is the same person as his character — conveniently also named Varun — in the film. He is tall and handsome, which is great. But he cooks, does dishes, cleans, is nice to people, friendly with his sister-in-law, drives people around — what is this male character that is thoughtful, sensitive and all?

Added to that, he makes tea. in the middle of the night, he smashes elaichi and all and makes tea!

And then they go and make him reasonable also. There is one scene where Sai Pallavi leads him to believe that he needs to wake up early, bathe and be dressed in veshti. He does so and waits endlessly, only to be stood up. Much embarrassment at the hand of village women follows. Looking at him, I thought, ‘gone, now, he will make her come out semi-naked and she will be indebted to him because he has seen her semi-naked’.

But no! He just lets it slide. Like this man can take a prank without his manhood breaking into a million pieces.

Where were you hiding this utterly lovable male specimen all these days, I am asking!

I thought, ‘ok, one alien’. Sekhar Kammula is known for such delicate portrayals in films that make no money. Maybe I got lucky, I told myself and returned to regular programming.

Next, Enti?

That is the name of the movie I watched next. You’ve seen the poster? Tamannah is making sniffy face like Sundeep Kishan screaming in front of her has bad breath. It is the perfect poster for some stereotypical — man v. woman shizz, no? Kunal Kohli made Next, Enti, inspired by Hum Tum, which was in turn inspired by When Harry Met Sally. Frankly, the film is nearly like that only. But this column is not about the film. It is about Sanju, who is such a gentle lover!

He pours her wine. Awkwardly pleads her for sex. Is decent when he meets sex-denying ex-girlfriend. Is merely amused about his fiancé’s sex toys. But most importantly, every time he imagines a future with her, he imagines himself staying at home, cooking, doing their daughter’s homework and all. Tall, dark and handsome Sundeep Kishan is playing gentle lover means how!

Ok ok, before you jump at me, I’m not saying these are perfect love stories — though Fidaa comes very close. I’m just saying there is nothing more attractive than a tall man who makes tea. Or, something to that effect.

P.S: Anymore ‘gentle lover’ romantic movie recommendation you have means, send it to @_tharkuri. Thank you.

Unmistakable. Meticulous. Predominantly an essayist. Evolved from a marketer. Ranjani Krishnakumar eats Tamil films all day and fruits for breakfast. Roosts with pair in Chennai apartment. Usually found chasing Vitamin-D. Believes “Dei” or “Pch” is the answer to all questions. 

Twitter: @_tharkuri


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