Sandeep Vanga’s this attempt to create a masterpiece has surely had its effect on all of us. Arjun Reddy is one of its kinds and will remain to be a brilliant attempt to break down barriers and rules of the Telugu film industry. Rated as a bold and a quite straightforward movie with innumerable mutes due to the usage of obscene slangs, this movie is marching ahead and creating a new path for itself.
It all started with the teaser while the trailer followed creating ripples of curiosity in us and then followed the songs and the audio launch that are all semi classical with a mix of the romantic touch and sadness. We surely knew it was a love story while the fact of it being a true story was revealed. Then Boom came the movie and the hurricane hit us bad. Yes! Arjun Reddy heralds a new chapter in Telugu cinema with its bold, brave new storytelling style that depicts a man’s falls and rise in its purest form. There’s hardly a scene that feels out of place and it’s not every day you come across a Telugu film that’s as intense and honest as this one. In other words, it’s not a film. It’s an experience. Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end. But Arjun Reddy doesn’t bother to give you an idea of what the plot is about or what to expect from the film. After a point, you even forget thinking about how this film is going to end. The path, that the titular character chooses, itself becomes a conflict point and as we dig deep into its layers, it becomes even more evident that Arjun Reddy is a character study about a man who’s heartbroken. It’s not a question of whether the path that the lead character chooses is right or wrong, but what constantly haunts us is how long he will keep enduring the pain before he breaks down. This movie has shown us the naked truths of life and how a man would actually suffer and live if he has been a possessive lover who has fallen out of love.
Writer-director Sandeep demands our full attention to the world he has created and once you submit yourself unconditionally, Arjun Reddy turns into a hugely rewarding experience. There are no gimmicks, no surprises, no twists. And in doing so, we are forced to absorb the film at a more personal and subconscious level. Every scene has something to say — whether it’s about the characters or the idea of suffering and pain. And every character is pushed to the brink because of a choice one person makes.
At its core, Arjun Reddy is a modern version of Devdas, of a protagonist who embraces suffering and resists change in his life after he’s heartbroken. We are told that Arjun Reddy (Vijay Devarakonda) is an alcoholic; however, his track record as a surgeon is impeccable. He’s a loner, but at times, he can’t resist his carnal desires. Despite all this, he’s constantly haunted by the thoughts of his ex-girlfriend Preethi (Shalini), who he met in college. The rest of the story is about how Arjun deals with the heartbreak and how darkness envelops his life as a result of his alcoholism. Arjun Reddy might be the poster boy of machismo, but at the same time, he’s practical and his love story is driven by his free-spirited nature. He doesn’t understand the barriers that society has set for everyone and he wants to burn them all down. He makes a lot of questionable choices much to the dismay of his friends, but that’s what defines the character. For instance, we are left wondering if there was another way Arjun could have chosen to express his love for Preethi, who’s a damsel in distress in the movie. Maybe! The two start off their relationship on unequal terms. Everyone is afraid of Arjun in college and Preethi has no choice but to follow his instructions. And then, one fine day, she opens up to him, embraces his madness, and makes peace with the fact that he will not change even for the sake of their love.
While Sandeep Kumar Vanga paves the way for a new style of filmmaking which doesn’t adhere to any rules of conventional storytelling, please put your hands together for Vijay Devarakonda, who is the life of Arjun Reddy. I can’t think of any other actor in Telugu cinema right now who could have pulled off this film with such conviction, and that is an understatement. Be it his anger or self-inflicted pain, Vijay nails every single shade in his character, and he does all this as if it was child’s play. No matter what you think of the film, let this be inscribed in stone — Vijay Devarakonda: What an amazing actor.
Rahul Ramakrishna, who plays Vijay’s friend in the movie, is terrific and he gives us some of the best moments in the film with his quirky one-liners. More than anything, it’s a relief to watch a film where characters talk like normal people. And Rahul brings this sort of authenticity to his character. Shalini, who plays Preethi, is good and it’s the vulnerability that she encapsulates that makes the love story so intense.
Arjun Reddy is not a bold movie because of its bold and sexually active scenes. It is a bold movie because Sandeep and Vijay have walked down their own path. They have paved it themselves and nobody has ever done it. So cheers to them.