The Telugu film Kushi is directed by Shiva Nirvana. Cast includes Vijay Deverakonda, Samantha, Murli Sharma, Sachin Khedkar, Jayaram, Rohini, Lakshmi, Vennela Kishore, Rahul Ramakrishna, Shatru.
Where can you watch Kushi in the UAE?
+ Hesham Abdul Wahab music
+ Uncomplicated narration
+ Youthful chemistry between the lead pair
– Predictable narration
– No deep delving
What’s it with other State directors who want to pay tribute to Tamil directors like Mani Ratnam and Gautam Vasudev Menon through some inspired romantic entertainers? The 2002 Malayalam flick Hridayam unapologetically doffed its hat to Menon’s cinematic universe that inevitably involves romantic encounters that take off at engineering college campuses.
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Here in Kushi, the director Shiva Nirvana has shaped his hero — a government employee posted to Kashmir — who takes his cues from Mani Ratnam’s Roja and its fresh music.
Incidentally, both Hridayam and Kushi have another commonality- Hesham Abdul Wahab’s youthful music is the cornerstone of both films. His songs spectacularly capture the young lovers’ zeitgeist and sets up the films beautifully.
Anyway, Kushi, even if it acknowledges Mani Ratnam’s Roja, is its own movie, one that is content to purvey surface-level entertainment and not probe any further. Mani Ratnam is a pastmaster in exploring the issues that couples face after marriage. Films like Mouna Ragam, Alai Payudhey and even Bombay dealt with them at various levels and from different perspectives.
But in this aspect, Shiva Nirvana doesn’t seem too inspired by Mani Ratnam. He sticks to the regular path and seems content with the youthful chemistry between his lead pair, Vijay Deverakonda and Samantha, to see things through in the first half. And in the second half, when more serious emotions kick in, Hesham Abdul Wahab’s music is used to paper over the screenplay’s shortcomings. To be sure, it doesn’t give full satisfaction. But one has to make do with what’s available.
The story starts with Viplav (Vijay Deverakonda), a BSNL employee, being posted to Kashmir. And man takes off with dreams. But he finds something else. And he also quickly runs into Aara (Samantha Ruth Prabhu), a Muslim girl. Viplav is head over heels in love with Aara. As it happens — this is no spoiler — she is actually Aaradhya (a software company employee), but once forced to embrace another identity due to circumstances. Aaradhya, hailing from Kakinada, belongs to an orthodox Brahmin family, and her dad Chardarangam (Murli Sharma) is an astrologist cum preacher. On the other hand, Viplav’s father, Lenin Sathyam (Sachin Khedekar), is a non-believer.
So, the stage is set for a clash of different worlds. Viplav and Aaradhya get wedded despite their parents’ reluctance, and they want to prove a point to the elders. But the reality is more sobering as they soon find wedded life not so much of a bliss. There is a lot of bitterness in the turn of events, and the two have many misunderstandings.
You know the ending of these films, especially one that is marketed as a rom-com. Vijay Deverakonda and Samantha ooze youthful vibes and make a major impact as a pair. Their acting is adequate without being anything substantial. Murli Sharma and Sachin Khedkar have roles that they can now play in their sleep. The characters of Jayaram and Rohini, who show up late in the proceedings, have nothing much to do.
The final portion, which takes up the debate of faith vs. reason, pays a mere lip service to the subject. It needed more directorial heft to tackle such a serious topic in a lightweight romantic flick.
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.