Director: Karthik Rapolu
Cast: Santhosh Shoban, Kavya Thapar, Shraddha Das, Brahmaji, Sudharshan
Ek Mini Katha seems to take a traditional approach, as far as sex comedies in Telugu cinema go, in the opening scenes. It talks about sex in quite a clandestine manner. And it stays on that plane for a long time without faltering much. The trailer has left no stone unturned to address the issue at hand. And the movie jumps right into the subject matter after beating around the bush for a few minutes.
When Ram Mohan (Brahmaji) walks into the office of a psychiatrist (played by Harsha Vardhan) and looks around the room to calm himself down, he appears to be looking for excuses. And the pauses he takes to come up with a solid reason for his presence there are oddly humorous. You know that he’s there for something inexplicable, but he doesn’t want to put his emotion into words. When he finally makes up his mind to bare his soul, he tells the doctor that his son is a sex addict.
It’s not a confession as such. It’s clearly a complaint and he goes on to reveal bits and pieces about his son’s eccentric behavior. However, when Santosh (Santosh Shoban), the son, enters the picture, the mystery around his sex life disappears into colorless air. All it takes is just one conversation for the psychiatrist to fork out Santosh’s problem.
The doctor is not a vital part of the story. This is not Vicky Donor (2012). But he offers some advice that morphs into a social message in the closing act. Till then, you’ll be getting a ringside view of a man who’s hell-bent on making his pee-pee bigger. Santosh is afraid that he won’t be able to make love, given the size of his organ. And director Karthik Rapolu puts him at the center of action without overtly making his male protagonist an object of ridicule.
It’s easy to make jokes about Santosh’s conundrum and in the hands of an imprudent filmmaker, Ek Mini Katha would have turned into an exercise in self-deprecation. Rapolu occasionally flirts with the idea of indulging in bawdy humor, but his mission doesn’t depend upon punching his hero.
Santhosh tries his luck with all the methods that he’s presented. He buys various products from various people and still ends up getting disappointed. Did he build a wall around himself when he was in college? He must have done that. Did he hate the world around him? Now, that’s a tricky question. He’s a fun person to be friends with. He doesn’t crack jokes at the speed of a rocket, but he’s surely decent enough with whom you can have a cup of coffee. Although he hates the word “chinna” (small) owing to the negative connotation he associates the word with, it follows him like a dog that’s too fond of him.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe the extent that he goes to in order to keep his secret to himself. In a tête-à-tête that he has with his friend, Darshan (Sudharshan), he tells him about what’s bothering him at the drop of a hat. And in another place, he tells a surgeon what he wants. But he doesn’t tell everybody about it. And it’s understandable, as it’s a matter of pride for him. Since these scenes are broadly punctuated by colloquial quirks, Rapolu plays to the gallery.
When the movie begins to wear the armor of a romantic comedy, however, it loses its weight. Ideally, it should have changed tracks at this juncture and become a wonder of gigantic proportions, but it brings in Amrutha (Kavya Thapar) and lets the tale develop into an unappetizing dessert. Amrutha and Santosh meet at the pyramid of a matchmaking arrangement. Sparks don’t fly instantly, but that’s not the problem here. Nothing holds the young couple together despite the heaviness of their amorous exchanges.
Their mundane chitchats don’t elevate the film and as more characters enter the frame, Ek Mini Katha takes a different direction. For a movie that tries to put the onus on love, it’s important for the leads to have a bond. How can you root for Santosh when his affection towards his wife is deeply intangible? He shares a better equation with his buddy at the end of the day. To be fair, this isn’t strictly a love story. It’s a major sub-plot, but it still hurts to watch Thapar and Shoban in scenes where they are completely out of their element.
Ek Mini Katha can’t be placed alongside the leader of Telugu adult comedies, Allari (2002), but it’ll surely find a warm place in the list. And for Shoban, this is certainly a step forward. If he picks the right scripts from here on out, he’ll fly.