I saw this one tonight in a theater and was the only white person there! Luckily I had an Indian friend that went with me who speaks Telugu, so that helped quite a bit. :)
There weren’t any subtitles, but I found that I was still largely able to understand what was going on through the first half of the film. Amazingly! (Though I did read a plot summary before hand, which is crucial). The first half was quite funny! The audience was laughing constantly at some dialogues but mostly the humorous situations, especially Siddhu’s friend with the broken down scooter (I’ve seen this guy, Venu Madhav, in almost every Telugu film I’ve watched!) and the middle-aged wannabe cricketeer (Brahmanandam). People were laughing so hard they were clapping and practically falling out of their seats! I found myself laughing as well, though half of the stuff went over my head.
And of course we come to the leads. Siddharth definitely has got some charisma and youthful energy but I just don’t find him very attractive! I kept thinking to myself that Siddharth looks like a chipmunk whose eyes are too close together. :D There are a few shots where he was passable, but overall he's not my cup of tea. I actually found myself staring instead at Siddhu’s friend in the beginning of the film (not the scooter guy but the other one) who I found very good looking- I think his name is Samrat? I’ve never seen Tamanna in anything before and thought she was BEAUTIFUL. Really, really naturally pretty. Definitely fair skinned though- she is about as pasty white as me, which I find is really common for female leads in South Indian films. And she is pretty young- 19, whereas Siddharth is 29 (but he doesn’t look it!). I did kind of hope at some point she would become more lively and energetic, as she is pretty low-key throughout the film, even in the songs.
The songs were amazing- this film has an excellent soundtrack. I really liked the picturisation of Egire Egire that began with a dove flying in slow motion. And the Evade Subramanyam (I think that’s it) song was rocking! I loved the little short clipped dance moves and Sid’s antics. The other picturisations were definitely fun, but if the songs hadn't enhanced them so much I probably wouldn't watch them again. And what was with the song Abacha in the auditorium? Geeta tells Siddhu to meet him there (I think) and all her friends show up and start dancing like it’s a rap video on MTV accompanied by Fergie’s “London Bridge” song (including the sometimes-edited “Oh Shit”’s at the beginning). But that doesn’t last too long and finally the real song starts, thankfully. I also noticed that the film has copious amounts of background music. I kept thinking that a song was going to start but the music would suddenly stop, only to start again when a character had something riveting to say. Lots of melodramatic sounds effects were used too, usually to emphasize a character’s reaction or quickly-edited pan shot. I find this is really common in Tamil/Telugu films!
The lack of subtitles did become a problem in the last third which is extremely dialogue-heavy and focuses on the issues regarding Siddhu’s parents’ estrangement. I found myself getting really bored because there wasn’t much humor or songs, and I was getting irritated with the same two facial expressions Siddhu’s mom had. I definitely want to see what was said when the DVD comes out. Wannabe's post above made it sound like I missed quite a bit. I never really understood quite what Siddhu and Geeta saw in each other or what the issues were between the parents. Wannabe, if you have time, definitely post about the complex relationship issues in the film!
A few more things I learned from my friend:
- The scene where Siddhu is talking to Geeta on the phone while both are watching the same film on TV- the film is Geetanjali, and in the scene playing the male character keeps asking the female character “why” repeatedly. Siddhu does the same thing to Geeta on the phone and prompts a funny reaction from the guy who is “amazed by technology”.
- When Siddhu’s mom first came on screen, all the guys in the audience were whistling and clapping. I didn't know why- she looked like a chaste, sari-clad Indian mom! My friend then explained that it’s because the actress, Ramya Krishna, was very popular back in the day and used to play very spicy characters and exposed a lot of skin. Now that she’s older, she plays mother roles of course. ;)
So overall I really loved the first half but found the second half too slow and dialogue-heavy (sans subtitles), and the songs were fantastic. I’ll definitely be getting this one on DVD to see if the second half is better with subtitles! :)