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Ala Vaikunthapurramloo

As The Swivel Chair Spins #6

Just a week after Visu’s demise, I saw Ala Vaikuntapuramlo which is the 2020 version of a Visu film. 

Had he seen it? Had he commented on it? I’ll never know. 

It is really a familiar set up of a change maker (Visu by default) who enters into a family, observes their problems (usually they dont get together) and solves it for them. 

Happy families are alike. Unhappy families (especially in Visu films) are unhappy in their own way. 

But here, director Trivikram Srinivas is greatly helped by lead actor Allu Arjun (Bantu) who seems to have built in to power a large mansion for at least a year. 

That mansion is Vaikunta Puram. 

Where a husband won’t speak to his wife. A son constantly disappoints his father to the level of doubting his birth (and rightly so) and a couple of good for nothing relatives and a scheming co worker (Murali Sharma is brilliant). 

Classic family set up. 

But Bantu by himself is a very well developed character, invested to the level of announcing to the audience what his “mannerism” is. Bantu is also developed using the one rule character development- he believes that telling the truth at all times is the best rather than lying. 

Obviously, this creates the main conflict when he is faced with his ultimate truth. 

Even though this is the most recent fun I have had streaming something, the movie by itself is not without problems- there is a paper thin villain and of course the women in Vaikuntapuram are criminally under developed- Pooja Hegde gets to be a start-up entrepreneur who gets tongue tied while speaking to an investor (?) and Tabu barely gets the scene, we only know about her from other characters. Nivetha Pethuraj doesn’t even get that. Most of the critical decisions are made and agreed upon by the men, even those who were at fault.

Yeah that’s a big paragraph, now let me shoot it back to say that this movie does not operate in any immediate reality, these constructs only exists in the mind of screenwriters a sense of hyper unreality as seen in the fights, dances, relationships etc- but they have managed to keep a family film at the core and still sell it, that’s really admirable. Add to this with Telugu cinema’s fascination with epics like the Ramayana. 

And heroine’s character name is Ammu, what’s not to like about that? I mean…

This streamed well.