Trivikram Srinivas is considered to one of the star writer-directors in the Telugu film industry, he has an impeccable filmography. I was excited to watch his new Sankranthi outing, Ala Vaikunthapurramloo, like many others. It is his return to his territory of film making. The movie begins on a dark note, with an exchange of 2 new born kids. But the twist here is that the kids are not exchanged for the reason of their safety but out of jealousy and greed. Trivikram continues with his favourite theme of sourcing from mythology and including the idea of justice and revenge.
It is an interesting to consider if Lord Rama was in a crisis and if he was helped by a saviour in the form of his son. So we have Ramachandran (Jayaram) who is a business magnate married to Yasu (Tabu) it is hard to miss all these Easter eggs. We all know how Yashoda is a foster mother of Lord Krishna. Here she raises someone’s else son without even being aware of the same.
It is what Trivikram does here that makes it interesting, he adds a twist to these mythological stories and brings his own charm. Here in his film it is Ram who is flawed and has an affair, here he is required to prove his loyalty and love to his wife. This is an interesting scene, where a husband and wife talk after several years and ask for forgiveness. It is where Trivikram is in supreme form as a writer and director. These 5 minutes of repentance, anger, forgiveness, and love are portrayed wonderfully by two brilliant actors Jayaram and Tabu. This scene is worth enough for Tabu to show her acting potential and remind us of why she is one of the best acting talents that we have.
In the Bhagavat Gita, the message of Lord Krishna is relayed by Sanjay to us. Similarly in this film ARK ( Sachin Khedkar) overhears a life-changing incident by chance as if to showcase that Bantu (Allu Arjun) is a god and that they have been waiting for him to rescue them.
The film is primarily shouldered on Allu Arjun’s shoulder and boy he does not disappoint. In fact many scenes which we have already seen in earlier Trivikram films are made enjoyable due to his acting talent.
The romance track between Bantu (Allu Arjun) and his boss Amulya (Pooja Hegde) is regressive, with a track objectifying the actress’s leg and amounts to sexual harassment. In any other film, this would not have been a problem, but the tone of the film is uneven because of this and it is surprising considering in Trivkikram’s previous film Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava the heroine was a pivotal character in moving things forward of the plot. Here the heroine is just an ornamental piece.
Trivikram here poses an interesting question; what if you were a rightful heir but were usurped of your power due to someone. Would you be angry at the person responsible for the same? Is forgiveness better than revenge? Trivikram has been running this theme in his previous films right from Jalsa to Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava, asking the audience if violence is a solution for our problems, and the cost we have to pay for it.
Trivikram makes us wait for the payoff and as we wait for the action packed climax, in a brilliant twist he plays that part in a flashback with a song and it is like an ace act by a director who is balancing between his storytelling and commercial sensibilities, it is like a magic trick, look this is what you want, I will give it to you but on my terms.
Trivikram delivers the message, that forgiveness is a choice for us, not an instruction like our Hindu mythology. That is what makes Bantu a hero, who chooses to forgive and forge ahead.
The film is now streaming on Netflix with English Subtitles.