What’s it about?
25-year-old Raghava (Anand Deverakonda) regularly gets admonished by his father as being a wastrel. But Raghava is not a man without a goal or dream. He aspires to open a tiffin center in Guntur, the closest city to his village. Firmly believing that his specialty‘ Bombay Chutney’ would attract the customers in Guntur, he convinces his father to provide investment.
In love with Sandhya (Varsha Bollamma), who also related to him, Raghava opens the restaurant in a shop owned by Sandhya’s father. But to his bad luck, the tiffin center doesn’t attract the customers. Meanwhile, Sandhya’s father sees an alliance of government officers (Tharun Bhaskar) for her. Other problems also compound for Raghava. Will Raghav overcome all these problems?
Set in Guntur and the surrounding rural area, ‘Middle Class Melodies’ is written by Janardhan Pasumarthi and directed by newcomer Vinod Anantoju. First things first, this film gets the look and feel of the region pitch-perfect. Realistic conversations, natural performances, subtle humor, and relatable characters are enough to like this simple and regular tale of middle-class guy’s pursuits.
There isn’t much of the story. Like Venkatesh Maha’s “Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya”, the film takes the viewers on a tour through the lives of people in a small-town (Guntur) and its interior parts.
There are many situations that are straight out of real-life: a middle-class father putting all his investments in a chit, and the chit owner running away due to his own problems, heroine’s father trying to hoodwink hero with sweet talk to buy their farmland, which has potential to reap in great profits if the proposed highway gets sanctioned, a youngster checking the kundali before proposing to a girl. Such situations we might have seen or heard or read.
The director has captured the dialect, food, and lifestyle of this region in intricate detail. But the film takes its own sweet time reaching the end. The middle-portion gets side-tracked. Also, many scenes drag on for no reason.
Coming to performances, Anand Deverakonda as Raghava, as a youngster who aspires to become a restaurateur, is likable. He has improved his performance skills compared to his first film. Varsha Bollamma shines as a small-town girl and emotes with her wide eyes without banking on dialogues much. She seems to have dubbed her dialogues herself.
Goparaju Ramana as Anand Deverakonda’s father gets the best lines. Many situations surrounding him are hilarious. He lives in the character, such a realistic portrayal of the role. Surabhi Prabhavathi as a mother, Prem Sagar as Varsha Bollamma’s father, Chaitanya Garikapati as friend Gopal have added a good texture with the overall natural performances.
Cinematography, production design, and editing are in sync with the film’s content. But the film definitely needs trimming. Music is also not striking. Dialogues by Janardhan need compliments. They are like the regular conversations that we hear in the Andhra villages and towns.
Bottom-line: ‘Middle Class Melodies’, a simple tale set in Guntur, is sprinkled with subtle humor. Despite minor issues, it is a charming small film.
By: Jalapathy Gudelli
Film: Middle Class Melodies
Cast: Anand Deverakonda, Varsha Bollamma, and others
Directed by: Vinod Anantoju
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video