'Atithi Devo Bhava' has been produced by Srinivasa Cine Creations. Let's find out what are its hits and misses.
Abhay (Aadi Saikumar) is in love with Vaishnavi (Nuveksha). The only thorn in the flesh in their relationship is a secret that Abhay is hiding from Vaishnavi. The secret is that Abhay is a monophobe, someone who is too frightened to be alone. This psychological issue has always haunted him since childhood. Will Vaishnavi ever be able to accept him for what he is? This question causes much distress in Abhay. The ramifications of this dilemma are not pleasant.
It's by now clear that Aadi Saikumar is out of form. He needs a solid film at this point in his career. And doing films like 'Jodi', 'Sashi' and the one under review won't help his sagging career in any way. Even the frames look so outmoded and cheap here. No matter how much effort the lead man puts, he can't save such a film.
Nuveksha, the heroine, is below average. Her performance is sketchy. Rohini and Saptagiri play the hero's mother and friend, respectively. They are routine. Gundu Sudarshan has a cameo, while Raghu Karamanchi and Adarsh Balakrishna have pointless roles.
Director Polimera Nageshwar tries to dignify the skin-deep love story by infusing duets/melodies. 'Ninnu Chudagane' and 'Baaguntundi Nuvvu Navvithe' are wasted. In a medium-range film with a good story, they would have received recognition at least. The cinematography by Amarnadh Bommireddy reflects the low budget on which the film was mounted.
One can be sure that the story of the film was initially conceived to be a serious one. Commercial ingredients were added later to make the proceedings taste spicy. The drunk-and-drive track between comedian Saptagiri and a cop (Ravi Prakash) is a case in point. Another track between an unfamiliar artist (who plays a funny thief), Saptagiri and the hero is another example.
When you want to narrate scenes that can make the audience forget the central conflict, the writing has to be sharp. The humour has to hit home. The deviation must be strong enough to enthuse the audience to invest in mindlessness. 'Atithi Devobhava' comprehensively lacks every single strength that it badly needed.
The emotions between Abhay and his mother are not silly. But they don't move us a bit. The emotions between Abhay and his girlfriend are not silly. But they are definitely underwritten. There are no scenes in the romantic track that can make us think that Abhay is right in what he is doing.
The second half is rudderless to the core. Scenes that should have been brief and effective are draggy and blunt. The climax is notoriously formulaic.
At 133 minutes (including smoking ads and titles), the film is never-ending.
'Atithi Devobhava' badly needed a story.