Solid: Priyamani, John Vijay
Director: Abhimanyu Tadimeti
Which got here first? The misplaced lamb or the egg? Maintain this thought we’ll get again to it later.
Bhamakalaapam is directed by debutante Abhimanyu and offered by Bharat Kamma who beforehand directed Pricey Comrade a movie that appeared passionate however boring, made by an keen filmmaker aching to make a related film in the course of the peak of the MeToo motion. I used to be fascinated with seeing this contemporary directorial voice, and a presenter with a robust progressive voice mix forces with Priyamani who appears to have discovered advantageous type with Naarappa and Household Man. The three of them appeared like a kind of thrilling gambles attainable solely in an OTT world.
Bhamakalaapam tells the story of a semi-successful YouTube celeb chef Anupama (Priyamani) who has an uncontrollable urge to peek into different individuals’s lives and meddle both by means of gossip or by immediately getting concerned. Throughout one such stunt she will get caught up in a homicide and the theft of a valuable Faberge egg that has the identical impact on its bearer because the ring in The Lord of the Rings, in that it heightens their evil aspect. Does Anupama handle to flee utilizing her wits or like a lamb misplaced in darkness does she require the lord to save lots of her? How harmless are the residents of Gulmohar Flats the place the movie’s plot unfolds?
Just like the movie’s presenter did in Pricey Comrade, Abhimanyu is fascinated with exploring philosophical quandaries however he reveals stunning command over craft regardless of being a debutante.
Via Bhamakalaapam, it’s evident that he’s able to establishing plot and sustaining curiosity of the viewers whereas retaining the philosophical questions he needs to ask. He hasn’t handed with flying colours and struggles for steadiness between philosophy and plot however there is sufficient to have fun and be excited to see what he can dish out sooner or later.
Earlier than I delve into the philosophical explorations of Bhamakalaapam it’s crucial that I level out that Abhimanyu appears to have borrowed closely from the Nelson Dilipkumar (Kolamaavu Kokila, Physician) and Sriram Raghvan (Andhadhun, Johnny Gaddaar) faculty of darkish comedy and I imply this as a honest praise. Telugu movies hardly ever discover darkish comedy and barring Sudheer Varma in Swami Ra Ra and Dochey only a few story tellers have ventured into that house efficiently. Bhamakalaapam takes courageous strides in that route. Watch the informal manner through which a personality has a ‘second’ loss of life and the ‘assassin’ appears to have simply finished a daily home chore and goes about their day because the witnesses should now course of how a lot murkier their world has develop into. Equally, watch a personality preserve a dialog about dropping pounds whereas making an attempt to be informal and never flinching at the truth that a useless physique is out of its ‘resting place’. That the director appears to be ready to conjure fascinating photographs and conditions for his characters is a welcome signal.
The director appears to be additionally ready to let the digicam be fluid and there’s flourish in the way in which he and DoP Deepak Yeragera let the digicam pan whereas additionally flexing some digicam muscle tissue with the dolly zooms, excessive shut ups, and many others. It’s indulgent at occasions however that it feels ‘solely at occasions’ is testomony to the arrogance the director feels for his director of images.
Nevertheless it’s when the movie will get into the philosophizing zone that its indulgence will get obvious and jarring. The movie needs to ask what’s the objective of faith and God when people proceed to be inherently evil. Evil shouldn’t be punished and good shouldn’t be rewarded so isn’t that proof that God is only a bunch of… (forgive me for my sin) bullshit? The movie is offended about this. As a result of it spares no one. Not Jesus. Not Allah. And neither the pantheon of Hindu Gods, though this movie depends extra on utilizing Biblical references and a pastor (Kancharapalem Kishore doing his finest imitation of Anthony Hopkins’ non-blinking Hannibal Lecter). And the movie makes use of Biblical references of a God and Jesus extra immediately whereas the pictures on the different religions are just a little extra refined, decreased to a Muslim couple in a deranged and abusive relationship or a number of Swastika symbols right here and there.
Perhaps the concept that the entire universe exists inside you is a nod to Krishna. Perhaps all of the numerous flawed households of Gulmohar Flats are stand ins for the crores of Hindu gods residing together with one household representing Islam and the pastor representing Christianity. Perhaps the world is one large Gulmohar Flats. However these metaphors and this angst come on the expense of some characters’ pure development and mirror some questionable decisions made by the director.
The sequence that results in the eventual destiny of Nayar (John Vijay struggling to seek out the precise tone between slapstick and menacing) works extra as a metaphor for ‘hey look what greed does’. Equally the eventual destiny of the pregnant Pallavi (a severely likeable Shanti Rao) works extra as a ‘look what faith actually does’ and the being pregnant exists someplace between a gimmick to extract sympathy and as a metaphor to Mary. If you happen to assume I’m studying an excessive amount of into this, Pallavi’s assistant known as Joseph. And when Pallavi confronts the ultimate villain there are footage of Mary in all places. Even the non-religious metaphors akin to the convenience with which the home assist (Saranya Pradeep) and Anupama’s assistant agree to assist her regardless of the depth of crime that’s requested of them, appear extra as a option to say “Look how simply we’re drawn to sin” somewhat than as convincing decisions these characters make.
The explanation I’m spending a lot time critiquing the indulgence in metaphors is as a result of a movie like C/O Kancharapalem which took on the would possibly of Hindusim, Islam, and Christianity to make its level a couple of godless humanity, managed to completely weave plot and character and humour with out seeming indulgent. It stayed mild and true to its universe somewhat than its metaphors. Equally, even Pricey Comrade, regardless of its dullness posed fascinating questions on effervescent male rage, social justice and lack of innocence with out utilizing its central characters Bobby and Lilly as stand-ins for the director’s opinions or questions.
However that that is his first movie and that Abhimanyu has pieced collectively a well-crafted movie that’s worthy of such intense dialogue and evaluation says there should be a potent filmmaker in him. Like an individual opening up for the primary time in remedy, he actually appears to have let go and one can hope that from his subsequent enterprise he will likely be extra accountable for plot and story. I’ve hope.
And this notion of hope brings me again to the query that I requested at first. Which got here first? The misplaced lamb or the egg? To reply by means of the vocabulary of the movie’s universe “the misplaced lamb is god, and it doesn’t exist whereas the egg is humanity which comprises the life and that means of God”.
If that feels a bit heavy, watch the movie because it spends a while explaining that idea.