Cast: Sai Dharam Tej, Nabha Natesh, Rajendra Prasad
The opening scene of the deliciously titled Solo Brathuke So Better gives away the soul of the film. By the time you take your second breath, you would have already guessed the entire plot. But this is not a thriller and you’re not waiting for the twists to surprise you. So, you’ll go through the rigmarole of trying to understand Virat’s (Sai Dharam Tej) philosophies. His idea is simple–he doesn’t want anybody to fall in love, or get married. He doesn’t stress on the fact about those two being inter-related. However, he doesn’t separate them and explain their backgrounds either.
Empowered with the thought of having found enlightenment at such a young age, he goes around his college to spread his pearls of wisdom. He even has a cult following among the youth, as he’s written a book of shlokas on the dangers of getting into a relationship. The setup is raucous, reminding you of the numerous college dramas that have whizzed by in the recent past. But the pace slows down as Virat moves to Hyderabad (from Vizag) after bagging a job offer. His friends move in with him and it’s all hunky-dory until they come out of their childish dream and take matters into their own hands.
Since there’s no backstory as to why Virat ends up as a boorish hater of companionship, you may find it difficult to empathise with him. Abhiram (Nagarjuna), in Manmadhudu (2002), didn’t want to get married as he thought he couldn’t trust women. His reason was dipped in what he considered to be betrayal by a woman he once loved. But Solo Brathuke So Better avoids that whole angle and sticks to publicising the slogan alone.
Virat speaks to his dad (portrayed by Naresh) as though he were a distant relative. The movie doesn’t allow us to catch a glimpse of their squabble either. Did something go wrong between them? Did the father, at any point, push him to become a doctor, or a software engineer? We don’t know. These unanswered questions plague the narrative right from the beginning. What keeps it afloat to an extent in spite of such niggling issues is the spirit of humor.
Vennela Kishore, as the son of the landlord named Govinda Gowda, is marvelously hilarious. Whenever he’s on screen, it’s a laugh riot. Gowda mixes a bunch of Kannada words in long Telugu sentences to make his dialect appear a little different from the one spoken by the members of Virat’s gang. The scenes where he happily daydreams about his wedding are top-class. It seems like Kishore adds no effort at being funny. He doesn’t come across as a person who mugs up his lines thoroughly before delivering them. Comedy is in his bones.
If Gowda had tagged along with Virat after the setup and the change of heart that Virat goes through, it’d have been great. After the entry of Amrutha (Nabha Natesh), the film nose-dives and doesn’t rise up. It’s left to just the leads to take it forward. And they don’t do it well. There’s a sense of déjà vu pasted all around their presence. Amrutha’s behaviour feels like she’s always excited about something, but that doesn’t reflect on her platonic relationship with Virat. She doesn’t ask for a cone of ice cream in the middle of the night à la Hasini (Genelia Deshmukh) from Bommarillu, but she may have taken inspiration from her during her adolescent years.
And since Virat is played by a star, there’s an action scene, as well. And it doesn’t end there, mind you. There’s another one near the climactic segment. Maybe, these irrelevant bits could have made way for some comedy. Take the portion where Virat’s three best friends call up a few women from their college days asking them if they’d like to marry him. It’s silly and, yet, effective. The results aren’t shocking–nobody likes him. This is exactly the kind of drama that you expect from a movie of this genre.
Virat is a man-child in many ways, and just like in an Imtiaz Ali love story, the hero gets several scenes where he’s made to understand the true meaning of life. He’s not looking to date anybody, though. He wants to get married as soon as possible, as he doesn’t see the point of being single anymore. But there’s a method with which Ali operates. He weaves together numerous situations that make the woman and the man come closer; whereas, Subbu, the writer-director of Solo Brathuke So Better, simply uses montages to convey Virat’s growing fondness for her. It’s a cop out actually since that doesn’t tell us why Virat wants to marry her.
If Virat’s chemistry with Amrutha had been as good as the one he shared with Govinda Gowda, this film would have landed safely.