“Care/of Kancharapalem”… A slow-burn romance with a twist that’s not just clever but also deeply moving

Posted on September 5, 2018

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/co-kancharapalem-telugu-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/

Erich Segal’s Love Story probably defined for all eternity that love means… never having to say you’re sorry. It sounds pretty, and it looks great on a greeting card — but does it really capture the depths of this emotion? I’d rather buy the definitions in C/o Kancharapalem, the marvellous romantic drama from first-time filmmaker Venkatesh Maha. Love means… buying a lyric book for the girl you like in class, because she wants to sing a film song and doesn’t know the words. (Why would a little girl want to sing Bhale bhale mogaadivoy from a decades-old movie like Maro Charithra? That’s part of this film’s sly design.) Love means… remembering that your co-worker said she was diabetic, and therefore taking along a bottle of sugar water during the tough climb to a temple. Love means… thrusting a bunch of condoms into your sex-worker girlfriend’s hand when she reveals her mother died of AIDS, so that at least she remains safe.

These lovestruck people, teens to forty-somethings, are part of the four love stories that form this film, which is set in Kancharapalem, a locality in the city of Visakhapatnam. Raju (Subba Rao) is an attender in a government office. He’s 49 and single. Radha (Radha Bessey), from Odisha, is the new officer. She’s appalled by the “caste system” at work, where officers don’t ask Raju to join them during lunch. She does. He responds to her fair-mindedness. This is a profoundly moving relationship, where we see a bond forming almost invisibly, without huge causal events. There is no single moment where Radha falls for Raju. It’s a gradual accrual of kindnesses. The older we get, “nice” becomes more important than “hot.” There are no hotties in this movie — just everyday people (mostly locals) with no makeup, no artifice. The lack of acting experience shows at times, especially with Radha. But the gawkiness is oddly endearing — I don’t know how else to explain it. You don’t seem to be witnessing a “performance.” It’s like their lives were captured on the fly.

Continued at the link above.

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Posted in: Cinema: Telugu