Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5
Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam Movie Review : Vishwak Sen shines and steals hearts as Arjun Kumar Allam
Review: Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam is one of those films where you see the scenes and are hit with nostalgia. It’s not just because it has few similarities with films like Vivaha Bhojanambu and Pushpaka Vimanam, it’s because director Vidyasagar Chinta and writer Ravi Kiran Kola ensure to keep the story so rooted, you can’t help but relate to it. It’s only in moments that Ashok strays from his character that you feel a little let down.
Arjun Kumar Allam (Vishwak Sen) might look handsome and have a skin tone that aunties can’t stop raving over but his body is sagging, his hair is falling and his family is desperate…no, enthusiastic…to find a woman for him to ‘settle down’ with. So much so that for lack of girls in their caste, they reluctantly arrange for him to get married to Madhavi (Rukshar Dhillon), a shy woman who doesn’t seem as enthusiastic as him and his family are. Her sister Vasudha (Ritika Nayak) tries her best to ensure the couple gets along when Arjun and his family are stuck at Madhavi’s home after the engagement. What ensues is chaos, not just due to the chatty sister, loud mouthed uncle, gossiping grandma or the whining relatives who suddenly find themselves stuck in a situation no one could imagine. The bride too decides to add some drama to the proceedings.
Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam might not be a perfect film but it subverts your expectations in ways that matter. Just when you think you know where this story is heading, it takes a turn. While the outcome might be something you’ve seen a million times before, you still care because Vishwak’s Arjun makes you care. Arjun might not be world savvy enough to understand his bride’s feelings but he certainly knows when to speak up and when to shut up. It gets a little preachy when the second half becomes message heavy about everything from gender disparity to caste but Vidyasagar and Ravi manage to veer the film back to its core story. Ritika’s character Vasudha could’ve been written better, given the stake she has in the story too.
Vishwak Sen was not kidding when he called this his career’s best performance, it truly is. You see him as a vulnerable everyday man after his debut film Vellipomakey and it is as refreshing now as it was back then. Vishwak even put on weight for the role and it suits both him and the character. Rukshar might not have a lot of lines in the film but her eyes do all the talking. As the film progresses, you also understand why ‘shy’ girls would really turn out that way. Ritika Nayak is delightfully good, if only she was given a character that was not run of the mill bubbly. It’s also worth mentioning that the film features a stellar cast like Rajkumar Kasireddy, Goparaju Ramana, Vennela Kishore and Kadambari Kiran Kumar, who seem to have a ball with their roles. Jay Krish’s music is an earworm.
It has been long since TFI has pulled off a family drama that will make you smile, laugh your heart out and root for someone with all your heart. Yes, it might not be perfection, but it’s as delightfully flawed as the characters in this film are.