Director: Vivek Athreya
Cast: Sree Vishnu, Nivetha Thomas, Priyadarshi, Rahul Ramakrishna, Satyadev, Nivetha Pethuraj
As a getaway car—masqueraded as a pollution check van—moves out of the frame with the kidnapped woman in it, Brochevarevarura, reads the title. It’s almost as if the words are expecting a reply from us. There is an affinity with which the film conducts itself that makes it hard not to gravitate towards it. Nowhere in it’s runtime does the film try to explain her characters or plot to us. With a disarming over-familiarity, it throws questions at us and expects us to solve them. And, for the most part, we are willing participants. Maybe this is because the answers are almost always easy, and in some cases, outright hilarious. Or maybe because the people asking the questions are eccentric and endearing. Either way, it thrives on excess—whether it be the details or the morals—and comes out as wide-grinned as the audience does, after the film ends.
So, is the film about a kidnap then? Well, yes and no. Yes because a kidnap does happen, two in fact. No because the film is too loose-ended—in a good way—to be about one thing. The film jumps between two sets of people. The three Rs—Rahul, Rakesh aka Rocky, Rambabu aka Rambo—and Mithra—they all study in the same college. And Vishal—a wannabe writer-director—and Shalini—a film star. Vishal, played by the sympathetic Satyadev, needs to convince Shalini—Nivetha Pethuraj is adequate as the star who we know nothing about—to act in his film, if he’s ever to make one. Mithra finds it hard to connect with her father, the principal at the same college who doesn’t trust his daughter. So, she naturally gravitates towards the three men—who she first sees outside her father’s office stealing answer sheets.
So, is the film about a kidnap then? Well, yes and no. Yes because a kidnap does happen, two in fact. No because the film is too loose-ended—in a good way—to be about one thing.
Vivek Athreya, writer-director, takes two simple stories about two different types of people and creates a crackling screenplay that only gets better as it progresses. The persuasiveness with which it starts as a story within a story only to turn itself into something completely else makes for an explosive interval block. From here on, it’s all about the audience—not the characters—having to deal with their own reactions a half-hour ago. We laughed when the three Rs were hitting a man, but something worse has also happened. We laughed when they play-acted kidnap, and now things got real. It’s about the audience having to choose sides. It’s about us realising that the three charming men we have been laughing along with are reckless assholes and so are we.
The chase sequence post-interval—Sai Sriram’s camera works wonderfully here, where both Vishal and the three Rs are simultaneously running after something is flawlessly executed as well. The way the two stories are made to slowly unveil, one after another, and unravel, one into another, as if they know how they are playing with the viewer’s mind is entertainment at its best. Adding Bithiri Sathi’s mentally-unstable beggar to the equation is the cherry on top of an already delectable cake. Ravi Teja’s editing and Ramanjaneyulu’s art design make the film that much more effecting.
Brochevarevarura populates itself with great characters and places them in circumstances where they can shine their eclectic light at us. Take the scene where Mithra—Nivetha Thomas’s unique ability to fill a character with life is pleasant to watch—is interacting with the relatively kinder kidnapper, for example. The scene is taut with anxious energy. Our girl is in danger and we have just seen her get treated lewdly. And bam comes this man who calls the woman he’s kidnapped ‘sister’ and tells her that he named his daughter Subba Rao, after his loving father. It’s so outlandish and silly that it takes your mind off of everything, not just the issue at hand. The film is filled with many such inanities that are unbelievable fun. Another such character is the CI who is weirdly convinced by the innocence of the culprits that he keeps saying, ‘Something is fishy’, without realising that he is the bait.
Brochevarevarura populates itself with great characters and places them in circumstances where they can shine their eclectic light at us. Take the scene where Mithra—Nivetha Thomas’s unique ability to fill a character with life is pleasant to watch—is interacting with the relatively kinder kidnapper, for example.
When we are first introduced to the three Rs, it happens through Rahul—Sree Vishnu’s comic timing and body language lifts the film. He has lost his phone–this is not the first time and this detail is used later–and we travel with him while he roams around town trying to find it. We never find the phone, but the narrative successfully takes us through his life and his behaviour. It also introduces to us his friends—Priyadarshi and Rahul have this equation where they can play off of each other and it will be entertaining enough to be a feature-length film, except for Mithai that is. Another interesting narrative choice this film makes is to let songs be a part of the story, rather than cut it into pieces. While Doragaari and Vagaladi organically build the friendship between Mithra and the gang, Talapu Talupu bookends Shalini’s feelings for Vishal. Vivek Sagar’s tonally-aware music lends the narrative a cohesiveness. The supportive cast does a great job as well, especially Shivaji Raja as the supportive yet unimpressed father.
When the film’s about to end, Mithra tries to cryptically communicate, what I think are romantic feelings, with Rahul. Without missing a beat, he replies, ‘I failed inter thrice. So, please keep that in mind while talking to me.’ In another scene, Mithra’s father brings the window down on her daughter’s side of the car to let the breeze in, hoping that it’d tell her that he’s a changed person now, and it does. Brochevarevarura isn’t your typical movie. It doesn’t much care about form or formula. It is a film that can go to any extent for a joke, and we will applaud it for it too—a worried father asked to wear a school bag shouldn’t make you laugh, but, by god, it does. The most exemplary thing about the film is that it does all this without losing grace.