Film: 24 Kisses
Director: Ayodhyakumar Krishnamsetty
Cast: Hebah Patel, Adith Arun, Rao Ramesh, Naresh
This second venture by Ayodhyakumar (who had earlier made a children’s film ‘Minugurulu’) seems to have elements from his own life, as the protagonist Anand (Adith) is a film-maker who makes children’s films.
It starts off with Anand visiting his shrink Murthi (Rao Ramesh) and lamenting about his relationship with Sree Lakshmi. The 28-year-old speaks about relationships the way most millenials approach relationships; with emphasis on being physical as opposed to being committed to a person.
Anand meets Sree Lakshmi (Hebah Patel) at a workshop and she falls in love with him when she realises that he wants to work for children suffering from malnutrition. Somewhere along the line, she realises that 24 kisses is what it takes for two people to cement their relationship forever. This element of the film is reminiscent of scores of rom-coms that dominated Hollywood in the early 2000s.
Sree Lakshmi is someone who wants a stable relationship while Anand is highly commitment phobic and only wants to take care of physical needs. He also seems to enjoy being alone in lieu of having a companion but all that changes when he meets Sree. In that manner, the film is predictable.
Some crucial plot elements in the film have been dealt with in a less deserving manner, so much that they lose their importance to the plot. Music in this film is soothing though the background music is oddly reminiscent of Woody Allen romances.
The way this film handles the concept of a person having one relationship after other and the millenial concept of friends with benefits in a very mature way, without making moral judgements. It also casually glances upon aspects like casual sex without giving much attention to it, in the sense that the romantic scenes would not elicit whistles in a theatre. But the fact that this movie ends on a note that sticks to traditional concepts of marriage and womanhood – that only marriage with kids is the ultimate goal of any relationship-is a letdowner.
As far as performances go, Adith and Hebah did a decent job, with Hebah stealing the show despite having far less screen time than Adith. Rao Ramesh, is well, Rao Ramesh, entertaining as usual in his comic best while the veteran actor Naresh handles his role well.