'Gurtunda Seethakalam' hit the cinemas this Friday (December 9). Here is our review of the box-office release.
Dev (Satyadev Kancharana) bumps into a young woman (Megha Akash) during a trip. He starts narrating his past, which we discover is filled with three love stories. His high-school crush comes first. Then comes his girlfriend during Engineering days Amrutha (Kavya Shetty). Finally comes his colleague Nidhi (Tamnnaah Bhatia).
When our filmmakers make anthologies or nostalgia films, you can be sure of one thing: there is going to be a terminal illness somewhere. Without disease or death, without a road accident or a tragedy, there is no way our writers can concoct conflict in the story. This week's other release 'Panchatantram', too, suffers from this predictability.
In 'Gurtunda Seetakalam', which is an official remake of the Kannada movie 'Love Mocktail' (2020), catastrophe is not a spoiler. If you are an avid movie buff, you would be able to figure out such an element the day the makers start selling their movie by deploying terms like 'nostalgia', 'life journey' and such like.
In the era of OTT, remakes themselves have become as boring as Gujarat Assembly elections: you very well know the result. Remakes of Sandalwood films like 'Dia' (remade in Telugu as 'Dear Megha') and 'Kirik Party' (remade as 'Kirrak Party') were unmemorable, to put it mildly. And it's not like 'Love Mocktail' was a pathbreaking movie - its dialogues were average, its situations were not sublime, its climax was cliched, and its love stories had no soul as such.
One love story fails. Conveniently, there is another woman ready to fall in love with the male lead. Amidst all this, the male lead doesn't look weathered. Unless you have the poetry of a 'Geethanjali' or the emotional churn that 'Naa Autograph' was capable of, why do you want to make such love stories in 2022? In 'Naa Autograph', Ravi Teja looked both serious enough and emotionally devastated.
Tamannaah Bhatia's Nidhi comes across as an immature woman who gets impressed very easily. Her deliberately semi-comical approach to the character robs the drama of any semblance of sublime romance that director Nagashekar might have intended.
Priyadarshi as the male lead's friend, Suhasini Maniratnam in a guest role, and Harshini as a friend fit the bill. Even Satyadevs comic timing has improved a lot compared to his previous movies. Megha Akash is wasted, while Kavya Shetty shares zero chemistry with Satyadev.
Even if 'Gurtunda Seetakalam' turns out to be a decent draw at the box office, it would be better for Tollywood filmmakers to junk the very idea of remaking certain romances/rom-coms. For one, they can't be recreated. For another, films like 'Love Mocktail' break no new ground in terms of ideas.