'Colour Photo', made by entertainers from the YouTube scene, started premiering on Aha from 6pm, October 23. Directed by a debutant, it features a range of artists who don't have any particular image. Claimed to be based on real incidents, it's a period drama whose story unfolds between 1997 and 2001 for the most part.
Set in Machilipatnam, the film is about Jayakrishna aka Kannayya (Suhaas) who wants to become an Engineering graduate and make his economically poor father proud. When he sees his classmate Deepu (Chandini Chowdary) during a drama rehearsal, he immediately develops a feeling of devotion towards her. It's bhakti, rather than love, at first sight.
Since he is dark-complexioned, Kannayya holds himself back and doesn't even try to talk with the fair-skinned Deepu. Love happens eventually for Deepu, who doesn't judge others by the colour of their skin. But her elder brother Rambabu (Sunil) is a crude racist. What follows is a series of game-changing events.
Suhaas, who has carved a niche for himself as a YouTube actor, has been bagging film opportunities of late. This film could change the direction of his career. Regardless of its fate, Suhaas will be recognized for his strong acting talent. Chandini Chowdary, who has previously failed to make a mark with offbeat films like 'Manu', gets to play a performance-driven character. She delivers a mixed output.
Sunil has been caricatured a lot but 'Colour Photo' respects his talent. He is menacing. Viva Harsha is not a typical sidekick of the male lead. He gets to emote in the climax. Adarsh Balakrishna is forgettable.
After 'Mathu Vadalara', music director Kaala Bhairava shows promise all over again. Besides 'Tharagathi Gadhi', he whips up emotions with his BGM. Venkat R Shakamuri's cinematography may not be fabulous but it's definitely adequate.
Writers Sai Rajesh Neelam and Sandeep Raj seem to have been inspired by the honesty and emotional depth of several Kollywood tragedies. Without making it look like a xerox copy of Tamil films, they have made the film in the light of their own convictions.
Although several scenes overstay their welcome, the film picks pace after the re-entry of Sunil's character in the second half.
The film hinges on rare sensibilities. Instead of the usual tropes, it makes sure the characters have a functioning brain.
The element of colour-based discrimination feels different although it's not novel.
The dialogues click for the most part, although there are stretches where they feel too borrowed or forced.
The songs don't act as interruptions.
A big demerit is that the love story is a bit underwhelming at times. After showing the male lead as literally worshipping the female lead, the film forgets the thread and spreads itself thin.
The racist senior at the college, the insensitive college principal don't lend much value to the story. Although their characters are well-written, their overall contribution to the story is feeble.
The colour-based discrimination beat has been overdone. Probably, doing away with either the senior or the college principal's meanness would have made no difference at all.
Chandni Chowdary's character looks a bit caricaturish at times.
'Colour Photo' is not your typical love story where things are rosy. At a time when out-and-out love stories are becoming rare, this film tells a tragic story.
Its strengths may also turn out to be its weaknesses if the audience feels that the content is too heavy. 'Andala Rakshasi' did well on TV but it was not received so well when it released in theatres despite memorable songs. Some stories grow with time. 'Dear Comrade' was praised by some but trashed by most. Some viewers love slow-burn movies. 'Colour Photo' is in that vague territory. Over to the audience.