White Guy Watches Bollywood

A random white guy engages with contemporary Indian cinema... one movie at a time

Mani Ratnam

Telugu Movie Review: Kushi begins as a lightweight entertainment, ends as a nonsensical drag

White Guy Watches Bollywood reviews "Kushi," the new Telugu romantic comedy starring Vijay Deverakonda and Samantha Ruth Prabhu.

The first act of Kushi, while exceedingly absurd even by the standards of a Telugu comedy, is a pretty fun time at the movies. Protagonist Viplav (Vijay Devarakonda) is a complete dork who hasn’t exactly taken after his intellectual father (Sachin Khedekar), a noted professor and public figure widely known for his atheist views. Viplav, a young and hungry telecommunications worker, forgoes a local work assignment that would keep him in his cushy family digs in Hyderabad for a less desirable job near the tumultuous Pakistani border in Kashmir. Naively, he believes this will be a peaceful and idyllic setting to take in the mountain views and pretend he’s the star of a Mani Ratnam movie, with his repeated references to Roja generating several chuckles. When he gets caught up in warzone gunfire immediately upon arrival, it only momentarily kills Viplav’s wide-eyed buzz.

This is all played for exaggerated laughs, of course, as are Viplav’s first interactions with Aaradhya (Samantha Ruth Prabhu), who he initially assumes to be a Muslim woman from Pakistan. On the contrary, she’s a Hindu wearing a headscarf in the Islamic section of Kashmir as she travels to visit the Mamaleshwar Temple… but why would she ever let the instantly smitten puppy-dog Viplav know that she’s a potentially qualified match for him? Alas, Aaradhya’s attempts to tell white lies to ward off Viplav – namely, that she’s in town to find her orphaned younger brother Feroz – backfire when she underestimates him. A few days and an entertainingly ludicrous bike chase later, he’s brought her every boy named Feroz within a fifty-mile radius. The tone is not unlike that of the recent rom-coms McG has produced for Netflix.

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