Love Story has been a long awaited movie for all since its announcement. Then the teasers, beautiful songs, Sai Pallavi's dance, have increased the anticipation beyond expectations. Most of all it is Shekhar Kammula's outing after Fidaa and we all love him for what he is and his movies. Love Story is definitely an angry Shekhar Kammula bursting to come out. He even mentioned this in many interviews that for the first time the conflict in his movie doesn't arise out of human complexities in characters but a societal issue. He wants to talk about it and also in a way that it can reach out to a larger audience than just niche audience. In my opinion, he succeeded quite well.
The writer speaks about two major issues plaguing the society currently. One being casteism and the other one - watch the movie to know.
One another interesting aspect of the writing is how the relationship comes to an understanding only post interval. Though the hero has his love at first sight moment when he watches the heroine hassling with an auto driver over 5 Rs. The heroine however takes not just some time but a lot of time to come to an understanding that she loves Revant. This is mostly because of her childhood and having no opportunity to talk about love, attraction and men kind of topics even with her own mother. Mouni's character slowly understands love as she gets closer and spends time with Revant. In a typical yet magical Shekar Kammula style there are some BEAUTIFUL moments when Mouni feels protected being around Revant, Mouni feels confident being with Revant, Mouni enjoys a kind of freedom that she could not even imagine staying at her home, Mouni feels Mouni with Revant and that causes the borders of geography, gender, and caste to get erased.
The writing involves words like meeru and memu to differentiate the castes, not even unnollu and lenollu. The writing is so subtle that one cannot expect a thunderous speech in the end. If that is what would have satisfied you then there is the portion that Revant speaks at the graveyard that pretty much is it.
I know a lot of people are talking about the climax being almost sort of an abrupt ending and the director has not been successful in making you leave the theatre with the issues that he wanted to talk about. If you want a climax like that then you basically want a climax like Temper in which the hero of the movie is standing in the court and his chest thumping speech is being telecasted across the states. He must mouth big dialogues about change in society and all the people of the state are supposed to change in just one viewing of a motivational speech. But, that is not how it actually happens and that is not how Shekhar Kammula writes stories. Most of his stories, characters and plot points are from real life and situations that are happening either to you or someone around you. Then definitely you cannot expect Shekhar Kammula to write an ending like that.
In fact, he shouldn't have even added the final voice over of them winning the case in the court. It should have just ended at the shot of Revant being taken away by the police while Monica and his mother look helplessly at the jeep. In reality, things do not change in an instance, it is just the beginning of a battle. As more and more people come to the fore and talk about these issues in public platforms, activists form, strikes happen, government takes notice and then some change happens. That is what happens in the climax of Nayattu, you do not whether a single person can bring about a change steeped deep in a society or a system. That is what happens in the climax of Vetrimaaran's short film in Paava Kadhaigal. That is what happens in the climax of Malik, you cannot go against the system however big you are. Lots of people have to struggle, lots of sacrifices need to be made and then some change happens. Then there is no point in talking about a faulty climax as Shekhar Kammula's writing style is such.
Sai Pallavi as a vulnerable, fear-stricken, country side girl fed up with a useless father, torturous grandmother, and age old female stereotypes just nails it in every single frame. Her growth as an actor is so satisfying to watch that you just wonder that if you were to ever become a director, you would kill to work with someone like that. Her every expression hits you exactly where it is supposed to hit. Nag Chaitanya as an ambitious Zumba instructor from the lower strata of the society is refreshing on screen. A change in his diction, body language, dialog delivery and depth in the character proves his potential. Eswari Devi, Rajeev Kanakala and others perform their role to its necessity.
Pawan CH's music is nothing short of magnificent, in fact it is borderline magical. He proves his reputation of working under AR Rahmann with his songs and background score equally. His notes and tunes in tandem with Shekar Kammula's frames invokes the exact emotion that it intends to.
Love Story is a bold attempt by Shekar Kammula to voice out societal issues through mainstream cinema in his inimitable style. He definitely is pushing himself out of comfort zone but most necessarily pushing the traditional Telugu audience also out of their comfort zone. More power to you Shekar sir.
PS - I did not talk about dance because its nothing new about Sai Pallavi.
"Daani nadumu madathale meriya, padipothadi mogolla duniya,
Adi rammante raadu ra cheliya, daani pere Saranga dariya"