Leela in Sanskrit loosely translates to "play". Leelas are generally associated with Krishna and are acts that cause a bit of trepidation and exasperation but finally bring joy to those who witness it. Use the word in a human perspective and it means that said person has screwed up big time. This "Krishna and his Leela" is a mixture of both - screw-ups that bring about a bit of mirth, smiles and exasperation in equal measure. For Krishna could be anyone - a brother, a friend, a colleague, or even we ourselves.
Directed by - Ravikanth Perepu
Starring - Siddu Jonnalagadda, Shradhha Srinath,Seerat Kapoor, Shalini Vadnikatti
Language - Telugu
Streaming on - Netflix
The movie begins with a trope - a solo trip undertaken to a scenic location to brood over lost love and the audience being a mute and sometimes unwilling spectator to the pain. But here it is upended for there is no pain, at least on the face of it. Krishna (Siddu) takes us through his love stories by breaking the fourth wall occasionally. Through flashback cuts, he tells us how he broke up with Sathya (Shraddha),fell in love with Radha (Shalini), breaks up with her (or does he?) and gets back with Sathya. In the midst of this, he is intrigued by Rukhsar (Seerat) and the way she deals with life. Sounds messy, right?
When I saw the trailer, I felt this movie was a spiritual successor of sorts to the Ram Charan Teja starrer Orange (2010). and it was easy to see why. I still can't understand what I feel about Orange - did I like it or dislike it and why so? The idea put forward by Orange was ahead of its time and it is possible that Krishna and his Leela falls in that category.
Love stories need moments to work and this film is not short on them. It also needs its actors to generate chemistry and there is wonderful chemistry all around. Siddu is really good as the confused Krishna, Shradhha is at her feisty best and Shalini brings forth so beautifully the emotions associated with love. Seerat is blank and mysterious and you can actually derive what you wish to from her character. In love stories, friends are a crucial part and Viva Harsha is one such friend. He is fed up with Siddu's ways but still looks out for him. His conversations with Siddu make you smile. Jhansi and Sampath Raj also put in assured performances.
The production values are very good and all the frames look beautiful. The makers have used some popular tunes which will bring back memories for sure. Sricharan Pakala's original sound track is also beautiful. Do not miss the sound track during Krishna's sister's wedding and the conversation he has with Sathya and Radha there. It is an absolute hoot. However, sometimes during the course of the movie the screenplay feels a little labored and slightly preachy. And sometimes, it could feel like an overdose of drama. Stay with it, for these aberrations are par for such a movie.
Cinema is supposed to get people talking and Ravikanth Perepu has done a very good job at ensuring it. His first movie Kshanam (2016) won accolades for being a true blue thriller. This movie might or might not win accolades but it will get people talking for sure. I was irritated at first with the idea but then slowly it made a bit of sense to me. One thing for sure is that this movie will polarize opinion. But hey, that's why it is a story about Krishna and his Leela. Isn't it?