Director: Mohan Bammidi
Sometimes, it takes almost a decade for an actor to get noticed. And sometimes just one blockbuster is enough to turn the tables. Satyadev, who has starred in around two dozen Telugu films so far, has appeared in various roles — friend of the hero, face in the crowd, a character actor, and, finally, as lead. Though he's slowly getting the attention his talent deserves, films such as Guvva Gorinka take him back to the cave.
In a year riddled with unpredictability, we've come to accept the fact that watching terrible films on OTT platforms is also energy-consuming. The movie starts off with a typical glance at the character introductions — Sireesha (Priyaa Lal) is a violinist, and Sadhanand (Satyadev) is a mechanical engineer. While her life revolves around playing the instrument day and night, he shuns sound and noise, and his aim is to make noiseless engines. He's the kind of guy every library should employ — he would forcibly ensure peace and quiet.
It's an interesting premise truly, but everything that makes up this movie is deliciously yawn-inducing. When Sireesha moves into her tastefully decorated home in Hyderabad (to study music), she fears that there's a ghost trying to scare her away. It would have, perhaps, been a better drama had that been the case. But, it turns out that Sadhanand is using his engineering skills to make the chairs shuffle around in her living room despite a wall separating their dwellings. He's her neighbour, and he doesn't appreciate the 'music' she makes. He's allergic to that too.
The troubles begin right from the point where they have conversations without feeling the need to exchange phone numbers. We're living in the age of social media, after all. And how do you think they talk? They do it the old-fashioned way — sitting on either side of the wall!
Guvva Gorinka reeks of the dark side of the 90s. The greatness of romance films from that period was that they featured a large cast of characters who moved around like pawns on a chess board. There were no dull scenes and there was always a line here and an expression there to keep us entertained. Hence it didn't matter if the stories were predictable. The bad ones, however, gave us nightmares.
Guvva Gorinka isn't quite a nightmare, but it's not something you would like to watch on a winter night, either. The limited set of characters cannot take the film forward, despite having arcs that change through the course of its 110-odd-minutes runtime.
Raghu (Priyadarshi), Sadhanand's friend, is under the impression that he needs to spend money to get what he wants from women, before he realises that's not true. Likewise, Sireesha's friends Harika (Madhumitha Krishna) and Arya (Chaitanya) understand that the idea of love takes a different shape as relationships age.
In the hands of another filmmaker, these portions may have worked wonderfully. But the ambitions of this director — Mohan Bammidi — aren't high. They wallow in the space just above ground. Shouldn't a film that includes Rahul Ramakrishna, Priyadarshi, and Bithiri Sathi (in a cameo) have a terrific place for comedy? Is that too much to ask for?
Maybe, the director really didn't know what to do with these actors. It's hard to watch these excellent comedians appear in lackadaisically-executed scenes.
When the Tamil film Kadhal Kottai (1996) released, there was a bit of freshness in the plot. And it was couched in the following question, "Can two people fall in love without meeting face-to-face?" It was with the same thought that Vamsy made Avunu Valliddaru Ista Paddaru! (2002). In both films, the protagonists had a variety of things to rely upon. And, most importantly, they were designed in a manner that you liked them and rooted for them.
In Guvva Gorinka, none of that happens. Sireesha and Sadhanand indulge in a series of tiring chit-chats that lead nowhere. Take the scene where they have dinner, for example. They're carefully seated on either side of the wall and digging into dishes they have prepared. What should have been a slow-burning moment of passion and hope turns into a flavourless exchange. How did they even fall for each other?
The only absolutely cool thing about Guvva Gorinka is the background score. Since Sireesha is a violinist, every time she picks up the instrument, a beautiful sound envelops the screen. And this factor peremptorily sticks out like a sore thumb. If Amazon Prime Video was kind enough to pick this three-year-old film that couldn't find a theatrical window before the pandemic, maybe it could pick the hidden gems still languishing.