VI Anand’s Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada (2016) Movie Review

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Starcast: Nikhil Siddhartha, Hebah Patel, Nandita Swetha, Raja
Music Composed by Sekhar Chandra
Directed by VI Anand
Produced by PV Rao
Dialogues by Abburi Ravi
Edited by Chota K Naidu
Cinematography by Sai Sriram

Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 139 Minutes

In an almost packed house for Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada in a multiplex on the first day itself (during this Cash Crises) clearly proved me that there are still enough fans of Telugu cinema, desperately waiting for a good film. But regrettably once again they all are served the same typical stuff from the director of Hrudayyam EKkadunndi & Tiger (2015), which turns out to be a pretty typical supernatural film in comparison that ironically had a much more interesting trailer than the entire 140 minutes movie.

The story of the film is about a happy go lucky guy Arjun (Nikhil Siddhartha) who gets attracted to soft hearted girl Aisha (Avika Gor) due to a small incident. Then Arjun proposes the girl and Aisha asks him to marry. He plans everything and Aisha fails to show up at the Registrar’s office for the marriage. Then his friends feel sorry for him and helps him get over her. After four long years, Kishore (Vennela Kishore) gets multiple personality disorder and Arjun helps him to cope up at Mahishasura Mardini temple in Kerala. That’s when Arjun falls in love with Amala (Hebah Patel) in Kerala, but fails to propose her. Things turn around, when Amala’s address and identity both turn out to be fake and another girl with the same name enters his life. That’s where strange things start happening and Aisha reenters his life. What happens next forms the crux of the story.

Imagine this for me, if you will Say that I See You (2006) and the Pisasu (2014) had a baby, with some of the genes of Norman Jewison & Peter New brook’s aspect thrown into the mix. That’s basically what you get with Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada. Directed by VI Anand, movie begins with mystery instrumental track used in the titles, showcases animated cave paintings (telling the backstory of souls/soul capturing) and then goes on offering all over the top, teenage rom-com episodes that desperately try to entertain audience without any major success. For instance, you get everything from typical break up at registrar’s office, then a girl with similar attitude meets and goes on to make beautiful memories, dumb steps to clear personality disorder issues and a good soul exchange point, then another body exchange and tells another routine infatuation story, finally gets to know the identity of the soul, its gets captured, but somehow returns in the end. Which makes you simply wonder that what exactly the maker wished to portray here in the name of romantic supernatural thriller, it’s neither a different love story nor spooky with almost no jump scares in its 140 minutes of poorly written stuff.

The movie had a brilliant idea of showcasing a “romantic spiritual affair” about soulmates, at the epitome of their love. Director VI Anand tries to build an interesting premise by adding tribal back story to the film, but movie moves on a routine note and just keeps wandering in various subplots offering few interesting moments few and far between. However if you are looking for an interesting point or some engaging moments or emotional romantic episodes, than what we have already seen before, then Anand doesn’t seem to be interested in trying anything new or truly fresh and keeps heavily relying on the same old safe bet formulas depicting a ‘interesting idea’ which ironically was also wasted by Bollywood makers.

The predictability factor and illogical narrative kills the suspense quite early and all strictly cliched elements really make you wonder three names associated in the film’s writing department. There are many lapses of logic’s you will find yourself rolling your eyes, (Spoiler Alert)

1. How did Amala’s ghost escape from the tribal well in the first place
2. There’s proper reasoning about how Amala possessed Parvathi’s body, but there’s no proper backstory about why Hebah wanted to suicide/die and that too twice.
3. Even after knowing Amala’s soul escaped from tribal people the first time, Nikhil once again believes in them and asks Kishore to contact them
4. From first to last director tries to showcase that Tribal people only capture souls for eternity in the well, but in the end tribal head says, “Anukulamaina samayam chusi ee athma ni parmathamalo ekyam cheyyadaniki thesukelthunna” which was never showcased the film.
5. Mumtaz – Kishore love story has a solid chemistry between the duo, but the she calls him uncle. Seriously, who sprays for flatus expelled by a matured person.
6. Nikhil never tries to get rid of Amala’s soul by any other means till the end and sends Vennela Kishore for this in the very last min, even after knowing the fact about Hebah’s possession with the help of her sister and Amala calling from Tamilnadu.
7. The return of Aisha into Parvathi’s body was not properly depicted, as a spirit can only enter when the person wanna die for 1/10th of a second. But here she was only frightened due to violence of Raja Ravindra.
8. Behavior of Amala seems to change with acting capabilities of actresses playing her. Why does Amala become sweet, cute and innocent in Avika Gor’s form while she exhibits boldness and childish attitude as Hebah and tries to be fearful as Parvathy?
9. How come Arjun who hates waiting never show the same trait again? Well Amala exhibits love and trust for Arjun but Arjun remembers her only after he saves a boy and returns to his cottage. What kind of true love or aspirational love is this? Normally, this wouldn’t have been a question but immediately, Amala asks him to check himself, had he not fallen in love? So what sort of love did he fall in?
10. Arjun gets attracted to a person with similar traits again and again! And never learns from his mistakes. Wow, characterization of a young man who hates waiting since he had to wait for hours for a woman for his marriage, shows just those changes that script can afford! Isn’t it fantastic?

The cinematography of the film by Sai Sriram is alright for the shoestring it was made with. The cinematographer should have worked a bit on the night sequences of the film. The pastiche background score by Sekhar Chandra refuses to remain in the background and constantly distracts from the story. The songs are alright. Editor shifting between the scenes could have been better, like he shifts from spooky base to direct conversation between the lead in the pre-climax episode. Dialogues by Abburi Ravi are good in parts like, “prema annesariki reachable lo untaru, Pelli annaka unreachable lo untaru”, “prema lo padaka kanipinchina amma nanna ne mosam cheyagalgindi, preminchina valani mosam cheyadu anna guarantee entaiyya”.

Nikhil is a fine actor and easy on eyes, but here he tries too hard and to portray a simple character. Nanditha Swetha adds spunk to her cliched character. Hebah is fairly like-able as energetic Amala & Neethu. Avika Gor is fine in her short role. The rest of the characters offer good support to the lead cast.

All in all, Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada is a simplistic narrative mechanism that seems to work as a popular cinema, might be advised during one on one sessions but being bold enough to create fresh scenes within the format, should always be USP of these kind of films. One wonders what this story could had been if it was handled by some competent director.

Theatrical Trailer:

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