Brochevarevarura: Second Half Syndrome
Star Cast: Sree Vishnu, Nivetha Thomas, Satya Dev, Nivetha Pethuraj, Priyadarshi,and Rahul Ramakrishna
Music Composed by Vivek Sagar
Cinematography by Sai Sriram
Directed by Vivek Athreya
First of all, my knowledge on Carnatic music is very very mild, but I belong to that 90’s generation kids who after watching Shankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam on TV for the first time, felt like what an old bore for first 15 minutes and then got hooked into those films. By the end of them both, I was singing and dancing. That was the impact of those films and they left some painful memories to people who heard my base voice in full bass and saw me try to dance like Kamal Hassan breaking cups and thankfully not bones. I vaguely remember that the song I tried to sing was Brochevarevarura ninu vina Raghuvara – Thiyagaraja kruthi and dance form I tried cannot be called Kathak but for this piece sake, I will call it Break-that-cup-de-Kathako? There were more martial arts than dance (later I found out), in that stunt and hence, a Karate kick kind off a name. Well, that personal indulgence aside, let’s talk about the movie…
Movies are not just meant to be sad, regressive, progressive, making strong statements, judging people or for pure entertainment purposes. They are all mixed in one bag and Telugu Cinema thrives only when new ways are found to wrap these things around in a bag that doesn’t really feel like an old rehash even if it is. Vivek Athreya is very good in understanding his characters, setting up the story but really very weak in carrying the momentum till the end of the film.
The first hour of this film feels like a mix of Edgar Wright and Guy Ritchie’s sensibilities to find humour in dark situations. Even the technique, pacing, characters feel like they are from contrasting schools trying to find a middle ground to meet. This keeps movie unique, fresh and even approach of Vivek is more assured. For example, take the hilarious scene involving hero losing phone quite often. He is introduced to us as an Inter student who can’t even pass one subject after 3 attempts. Then in the heroine intro scene, she is more subdued and her father doesn’t allow her to even experience the fresh air outside his red car, as it is too independent or we can say too liberal that it can spoil her.
Take another scene, where the hero and heroine meet each other for the first time. She is still not breathing comfortably and he is trying to steal paper so that he won’t be embarrassed in front of the class. Ironically, he and his friends end up embarrassing each other while she the more silent one, easily steals her paper. Still, she inflicts embarrassment to her father, a principal and we are introduced to her mischievous side that lets us believe that she can connect with this careless boy. On the other hand, a heroine and her film debut director’s romance doesn’t seem to fit. Still, both of these worlds are forced to unite.
For some part of it, the director made it seem like we are watching a script that is narrated by this debut man and heroine is falling for him, imagining those college scenes. This is the kind of misdirection David Fincher would use but more subtly as his story might have bigger implications from such kind of a premise. A different viewpoint. But in a Guy Ritchie or Edgar Wright film, the moral compass is shifted to the convenience of the plot still giving the dark humour more edge and in Ritchie’s case, camera technique also importance.
Vivek impresses you till he starts dragging 15 mins before the Interval. From here on, we see Ram Gopal Varma and Krishna Vamsi taking over. If they were in their prime they would have given their best but in Vivek Athreya’s lens too they were strangely lesser capable to than their original potential. We suddenly see extreme drag like in few sequences of Anaganaga Oka Roju, a Gulabhi kind of twist and a silly plot driving the connection like in Danger. Entire second half changes tone and then VA suddenly remembers this is his movie and goes to Ritchie style again sprinkling Danny Boyle style of dark humour too here and there, to reach home.
He did make a genuine attempt to keep the runtime short, plots engaging but he married two contrast worlds so much that we don’t see why there was need for misdirection in a comedy driven script as the other hero-heroine had no real gain or substantial realization due to this approach. He could have easily said that these two were in love as the other dismantle their world. One very random incident was given way more mileage in a hope to invest us in a story that doesn’t have space for them.
We don’t see the truth about the director’s situation coming into context for the student and we don’t even see heroine’s world being parallel to other student’s world. So, the second hour makes the first hour a farce misdirection that was aimed at giving audiences’ a WOW factor but with second hour they just felt like the movie was dragging until the two again fight directly and film resolves as if all of the characters gained consciousness immediately. The character of a mad man doesn’t really add to the weight of the script. There were many possible ways the movie could go and be unique in handling them as well. But it tries to find humour in situations that just stagnates the story.
All-in-all, this is an enjoyable attempt with Vivek Athreya proving that he has visual strength and understanding of extracting performances from actors but he still needs to find a way to get out of Second Half Syndrome, it killed the unique experience his Mental Madhilo could have been and in this one comedy saved him. There is no wrong in telling clichéd and old stories in a new way with new screenplay but the momentum should be at least like MS Dhoni’s recent successful innings where the end lets you forget the beginning but not like his unsuccessful ones where end hurts the beginning even more.
Mental Madhilo Movie Review: Click