Rating: 7/10 (Good)
Mataala Mantrikudu Trivikram Srinivas is back with his latest film A Aa aka Anand Vihari vs Anasuya Ramalingam. The film stars Nithin and Samantha in the lead roles and all of Trivikram's films are eagerly awaited due to their entertainment quotient and witty dialogues. His last fim S/O Satyamurthy was met with a lukewarm response. Is this film better? Find out in my review
Story: Anasuya Ramalingam(Samantha) tries to commit suicide because of her mother's (Nadiya) tryant like way in her life. Her attempt is unsuccessful and thinking it would be a good idea for her to get out of the house, her father (Naresh) decides to send her to her maternal uncle's place for a vacation when her mother goes away for a business trip. To keep her in check and make sure she's safe, he sends his nephew Anand (Nithin) to tag along. Anasuya and Anand arrive to the village and have a very enjoyable time and she thoroughly loves every minute of her time despite some amenities such as AC and television not being prevalent all the time. On the flip side there is man named Pallam Venkanna (Rao Ramesh) who wants to get his daughter (Anupama Parameshwaran) married to Anand but he doesn't really like him or his family. Slowly but surely, Anasuya starts to develop feelings for Anand but she is sent back home before she can express her real feelings. The rest of the story is how Anand deals with Pallam Venkanna, Anasuya deals with her mother, and all ends happy in the end with a small twist about why the two families don't talk to each other anymore.
Performances: Nithin has delivered his career best performance in this film in opinion. His portrayal of Anand is subdued and restrained and his comic timing is also on the money here.
Samantha after a long time was likeable and actually had a meaningful role instead of her dumb heroine characters who gives into the hero after relentless stalking and harassment and appears for 3 songs and is never seen again. She also has delivered her best performance as Anasuya. Credit should go to Trivkiram for writing great characters for the leads.
Naresh is entertaining as Anasuya's father. Nadiya's role is a complete role reverse of her character is AD and she has negative shades in this film. She looks good and does well within the limitations of the role. Hariteja as friend of Samantha was very good and provides good laughs as Mangamma.
It is Rao Ramesh that steals the show once again. He is simply amazing as Pallam Venkanna. His dialogue delivery, body language, and modulation are all superb and his punch dialogues in the climax are clap worthy and absolutely hilarious.
Praveen is ok as Nithin's friend. Srinivas Avasarala does a role that suits him but isn't that effective. Ajay and others are adequate.
Technicalities: Music by Mickey J Meyer is beautiful on the screen and the background score is also good. Every song is picturized well and goes with the flow of the movie. Dialogues by Trivikram are excellent. He has weaved his magic again in this film and his dialogues are philosophical, witty, and hilarious all at the same time. Cinematography by Nataranjan Subramaniam is top notch. The visuals are rich, colorful, and vibrant and he has captured the moods of the film very effectively. Editing by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao is ok. Definitely some scenes in the 2nd half could be chopped off to make things crisper. Production Values by S. Radhakrishna are extravagant. Nothing has been compromised on this film and it is technically sound throughout.
Analysis: S/O Satyamurthy was a very average film. Too many sub plots were going on and it didn't feel like Trivikram film. When he announced he was going to make a film with Nithin, curiosity sparked and after named the film with a simple title A Aa, expetecations rised even more. It's safe to say Trivikram has bounced back with flying colors in A Aa and right from first scene, he weaves his magic into this celluloid.
The first half of A Aa is absolutely superb. Not even for a second do you ever feel bored because Trivikram's screenplay is very engaging in the first part. All the character's are introduced nicely and the entertainment factor in the village is very good. After Rao Ramesh enters he also provides superb lines for the audience to enjoy and makes it a fun ride from there on in. The wedding scene with Chammak Chandra is funny but it becomes too long and repetitive and is a little uncomfortable for the family audience. The interval bang is good and is expected. But it was the 2nd half that made me give this film a lower rating.
The first 20 mins of the 2nd half are very good and engaging but then the narration fluctuates and you feel Trivikram just stuffed fluff into the screenplay in the 2nd half and prolonged the narration. Anand's sister coming to the Anasuya's house and that whole episode with the mall could have easily been chopped off and the unnecessary romantic scenes between Nithin and Samantha were prolonged. These parts in my opinion were boring and the editing department could have come in the clutch here. When the twist is revealed, you get a sense of dejavu because it is strikingly similar to the directors all time hit, Attarintiki Daredi. The climax isn't executed that well either but the last scene featuring Rao Ramesh is the icing on the cake and brings about whistles and claps and will be remembered as THE iconic scene in the film.
On a whole, A Aa is a fun film that completely gives you your tickets worth of entertainment for 2 and half hours. Trivikram's direction, dialogues, performances, songs, comedy, and cinematography are the plus points of this family entertainer. If you don't mind the meandering and dragging 2nd half, this film will entertain you and don't forget about Rao Ramesh in the climax. I'm going with 7/10.