Through Fidaa, director Sekhar Kammula pits Indian sensibilities against American ones. And subverts one of Indian cinema’s most self-serving stereotype – the soil-loving Indian (male) ruffian. Here, that stereotype is played to perfection by the exquisite Sai Pallavi. She holds forth on farmers, the need to improve ones motherland, and how Indian culture is the best in the world.
Varun Tej is the love interest who occasionally flexes some muscle. It’s one of the film’s smartest moves and results in Sai Pallavi shouldering much of the film with her nimble feet and myriad expressions. Kammula writes the film’s female lead, Bhanumathi, as a strong-willed character, a complicated woman for whom familial loyalty is everything.
Varun Tej’s six-foot plus frame, light brown eyes, and easygoing manner tests Bhanu’s devotion to her father. Caught between paternal love and an irresistible desire to follow Varun to America, Bhanu suffers.
She waits for an excuse to make things difficult for her. And in true cinematic style, she gets one.
In Fidaa, life is neither black nor white. For a film promoted as a romantic comedy, it handles somewhat complicated truths of life – do we let go of our convictions for love? Or do we forsake romance?
Bhanu struggles with this dilemma until the very end. Along the way, there are several clichés, and the film’s narrative slips out of Kammula’s control. There are a number of unnecessary scenes as soon as the focus shifts to America. The one with the salsa dance and Sai Pallavi’s new Western look is perhaps the most poorly staged of the lot.
Eventually, one gets the sense that Kammula visualised this love-hate-love story as a series of big, romantic moments strung together by Shakthikanth Karthik’s wonderful music. It works to an extent.
At least, initially.
As the film drags on after the interval though, Fidaa struggles to find its footing, and Kammula gradually loses control. The ending seems tacked on, a half-hearted attempt at finding common ground between Bhanu’s wishes and Varun’s.
Overall, though, the film is sweet, breezy, and brimming with the sort of unnecessary angst and love that seems to characterise romantic relationships these days. It’s all right. But with the kind of promotion and goodwill this film generated, it’s another opportunity lost.
But, Kammula’s back. As is Sai Pallavi. That’s something.
The Fidaa review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.