Director: P Vasu
Cast: Shivarajkumar, Anant Nag, Suhasini
P Vasu is a director who has made films in the four main South Indian languages and has many blockbusters under his belt. In a couple of years, he'd be completing 40 years as director. Those seemed reasons enough to invest three hours on Ayushman Bhava. But boy, was I wrong!
Shivarajumar, an actor who has been a "hero" for over three decades, should choose his films more carefully, you may think. But, he's always been clear — quantity over quality. Neither is his role here exciting nor does he seem interested in making something new out of it. Anyway, coming back to Vasu.
I understand that most old-time directors are not able to impress today's audience because of their dated storytelling. However, I'd like to beleive they have solid storylines. This one, sadly, seemed desperate — a huge joint family, a bungalow with many rooms, of which one seems haunted, an outhouse, screams in the night, a girl from the family who's mentally disturbed and a doctor who will bring her back to normalcy.
Does this not sound like the 2004 blockbuster Aapthamitra? That is exactly what you have here as well. A hit combo (Dwarakish's production house, director Vasu and composer Gurukiran) from that film, and the story too! Lakshmi (Rachita Ram) wants to start a music college to help underprivileged children interested in music. Her parents die in an accident, and she suddenly cannot recognise anyone in the joint family. She is locked up in the outhouse. Krishna (Shivarajkumar) wants to help her, because he is indirectly the reason for her plight.
The common motifs between Aapthamitra and this film are many — music/dance, accident, trauma impact, a psychiatrist ready to risk all… It looks like no effort was taken to define the characters. For instance, Krishna is the son of a man (played by Prabhu) who owns a big hospital and his net worth is in billions. Besides being a psychiatrist, he also manages to fight with humans and a tiger, plays the piano, and also fixs a MacBook. We never know the why and the how.
"Good people" become "bad people" (and vice versa) for no reason, a stranger who enters the house fraudulently is given a job offer with just a tiny monologue, and we are supposed to accept Krishna is a doctor, because his website is: krishnadoc.com. Anant Nag and Ramesh Bhat (theirs is an old hit combo), Rangayana Raghu, Suhasini and Shivarajkumar are all wasted. Rachita Ram's character is important, but is not fleshed out well. She tries her best, though. Sadhu Kokila has become as essential as a camera in every film; only, the camera at least has a job to do!
Probably because it is Gurukiran's 100th film, the songs keep coming. The editing (and writing) is so old school, you know how the film will end even before it starts. The cinematography is strictly average, but do watch out for the unintentionally funny and unnecessary CG work.
After Aapthamitra came Aaptharakshaka, not Aapthamitra 2. Ayushman Bhava seems to be an attempt to squeeze out some more mileage from Aapthamitra. Unfortunately, this film is Aaptamitra 1/2. The film was supposed to release on Kannada Rajyotsava (November 1), but had to be postponed by a fortnight. Given that, one may call this a 'delayed' release. The only thing is that the delay dates back decades!