Ram Venkat Srikar
Halfway through, I wondered why the film is titled after the band — comprising members of a socially backward community — that accompanies every event, from marriages to funerals, in a village.
Ambajipeta Marriage Band itself becomes a sign of protest, a companion to not just events in the village but a political statement; the loud sound of the powerless, those whose voices are constantly suppressed.
Seeing the band evolve into a character itself, and what it later goes on to stand, is a fascinating journey, one with an innate sense of practicality that gives its characters an edge over films that have explored oppression in the past.
It leads to more satisfying moments, it then wouldn’t have been the film that reminds you of the reality that it is in this form. Do we need films to remind us of the rampant hate and prejudices spread across society?
Can’t filmmakers correct the wrongs of the already painful reality at least in fiction and give us hopeful art? These are counter-questions to the fact that cinema is nothing but a reflection of society.
Well, it is definitely not the fun, lighthearted film the title suggests. It is much more than that. Two stretches in the film — the entire ‘insult’ sequence and another one in the pre-climax — hit you like a ton of bricks. It goes into some dark places you don’t quite expect it to.