Starring Vijay Deverakonda, Rashmika Mandanna
Directed by Bharat Kamma
The pre- and post-interval halves of the new Vijay Deverakonda starrer Dear Comrade are like two different films. And that’s not a bad thing at all. Not in this case. For, what the schizophrenic saga tells us about human nature and its gamboling shifts of perspective is far more valuable than the concept of consistency that we seek in art and seldom find in real life.
The first half of Dear Comrade builds on Deverekonda’s Arjun Reddy image of a young hotblooded man in serious need of anger management. Unlike Arjun, Bobby in this film is a rebel with a cause. The director creates a believable construct of an impending destruction that comes to those who care too much about what goes in the world to notice that their own life is coming undone.
Deverekonda who has grown into one of the most likable star-actors of the country takes us through Bobby’s romantic journey with Lily (Rashmika Mandanna, natural and likeable though a little too eager to emote at times). His eyes body-language and even his amazingly evolved dancing skills convey a wealth of love and devotion, so that when the girl tells him to back off at a family wedding(the venue of so many heartbreaks in Indian cinema) we feel Bobby’s hurt jump at us out of thescreen with palpable urgency.
Deverakonda’s performance is filled with surprising intensity and warmth. He is never afraid to show his emotions in an unvarnished condition. The music and songs by Justin Prabhakaran make telling use of classical elements to create an aura of raga-soaked romance. In the first-half the romance perched at a perfect pitch.
The ecstasy of love dissolves in the second-half when the film wants to tell another story. The switchover to a plotline on sexual harassment, where Bobby’s anger is directed at a social system that encourages women to stay silent when violated, shows a selfassured shift of perspective brought on by the conviction that in life and in a relationship, commitment is not only personal issue.
There are moments between the couple that are at once heartwrenching and edifying. The narrative keeps the central relationship from slipping off from the credible zone even as the emotions go from real and raw to curiously unbelievable to the stylishly filmy.
Through all the ordeals by fire that the lovers go through the film captures the impassioned intensity of the Bobby-Lily reckless affinity. To just see this couple in love is to feel the impact of love.