Cast: Salony Luthra, Naveen Chandra
Director: Srikanth Nagothi
The good old saying, ‘Age is just a number’ might be apt for a number of occasions; however, when it comes to marriage, that too in India where you are expected to be ‘settled’ before it’s ‘too late’, age is a ticking time-bomb. The idea of age is at the heart of Srikanth Nagothi’s moving drama Bhanumati & Ramakrishna, streaming on aha video. It examines the complexities of finding love in 30s and how everyone turns judgmental when someone, especially a woman, doesn’t get married before hitting 30.
The lead protagonist, Bhanumathi (Salony Luthra) is practical, modern, and a workaholic. However, her long distance relationship comes to an end abruptly, and among many other reasons, her boyfriend tells her that he’s found someone else, who’s 24. It’s specifically used as an insult aimed towards Bhanumathi to remind her that she’s not young anymore. Bhanumathi is visibly upset and at loss of words, but she doesn’t let this pain surface on her face.
Elsewhere, Ramakrishna (Naveen Chandra), who’s in his early 30s and a native of Tenali, finds a job in the same company where Bhanumathi works. He’s traditional, kind-hearted, and a simple man with simple dreams. He wants to earn enough to take care of his parents and settle down in life with someone who respects him for who he is. Not surprisingly, Ramakrishna is assigned to work in Bhanumathi’s team, and as time goes by, the two get to know each other and eventually love blossoms between the two.
For a tale that seems so simple, writer and director Srikanth Nagothi does something quite distinctive by merely presenting the characters in the story as normal people. And it’s especially evident in how the characters are portrayed in their office space.
Telugu films have more often than not portrayed professional workspaces with comical overtones where everything is exaggerated. For starters, no one dances or goes overboard with their celebrations in the office where Bhanumathi and Ramakrishna work. The biggest issue, so to speak, is Ramakrishna’s honest confession that he can’t hold conversations in English confidently. Even the manner in which the romance blooms between the characters unravels, over a series of conversations and confessions about their lives, is treated quite naturally.
The runtime is just 92 minutes, but it packs in plenty of details that you would want to know about the two characters and what they want in life. In one beautifully written sequence, Ramakrishna confesses that he has no bitter feelings about remaining single because his father couldn’t deal with questions about their family anymore. The more he speaks, he isn’t merely baring his soul, the more he’s also helping Bhanumati heal at a subconscious level. There’s something quite comforting about how their relationship is portrayed. Accepting each other becomes the driving force of the narrative more than confessing what they feel for each other. Full credit to Srikanth for pulling all this off so elegantly.
Apart from the writing, it’s Salony Luthra and Naveen Chandra who shine the most in their respective roles. The duo embodies the ordinariness of their characterisations so well that everything about the film feels natural. The story unfolds from Salony Luthra’s point of view and she fits into the role effortlessly.
In Bhanumathi, the story finds its rhythm and she’s the one who undergoes more change than Ramakrishna. And a lot of times, this change is underlined just by the way Bhanumathi looks at herself and the world around her. Salony brings the character to life really well, and she finds a good partner in Naveen Chandra, whose measured performance works well in the story. He’s the more innocent of the two, and he retains this element of innocence until the end. Viva Harsha, who plays Naveen’s roommate, delivers a decent performance in a supporting role.
Apart from being a romantic drama, Bhanumati Ramakrishna is also a subtle commentary about the divide between city and town lifestyles, the modern and the traditional, and how marriage is seen as a symbol of stability in life. Right from their clothes to their language, the characters are often at opposing ends, but beyond all this, they are drawn to each other because they are empathetic and respect one another. Empathy and kindness too are acts of love.
It’s a strong debut for Srikanth Nagothi, who impresses both with his writing and narrative style. The film isn’t the kind of romantic drama which will instantly sweep you off your feet; instead it grows on you slowly and leaves you with a gentle smile in the end. Even for the characters, the stakes aren’t too high and as a result, even the conflict between them feels way too low-key; however, that’s the whole point of the film. It’s a romantic tale of two simple people who want simple things in life. In the end, they just realise that they want each other.
The Bhanumati Ramakrishna review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreenindia.com and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.