Love Story movie review: Naga Chaitanya’s film on forbidden romance is moving
Love Story movie review: It dances around important ideas and lacks an impactful climax, but Naga Chaitanya and Sai Pallavi's performances elevate the film.
Director - Sekhar Kammula
Cast - Naga Chaitanya, Sai Pallavi, Rajeev Kanakala and Devyani
Sekhar Kammula is one of the most sensible mainstream filmmakers you can find in Telugu cinema today. With Love Story, his latest outing, he touches on themes like caste, class divide, middle class problems and sexual harassment in the most hard-hitting and moving fashion. In spite of the hurried climax and the predictable ending, the film works to a large extent because of its sensible treatment and earnest performances of Naga Chaitanya and Sai Pallavi, who complement each other so well.
Naga Chaitanya plays Revanth, who is a Christian from a lower caste. All through his life, he has been looked down upon. But his strong-willed mother raises him to be independent, and he grows up to become a Zumba instructor. Life isn’t a cakewalk for Revanth, who struggles hard to even pay rent. Sai Pallavi plays Mounica (a Hindu from an upper caste), who moves to the city to prove herself to her family. Both Revanth and Mounica bond over dance and decide to set up a Zumba studio. In the process, they fall in love.
Watch the Love Story trailer here:
Love Story is breezy and it treads a very familiar path. But there’s a very disturbing sub-plot about sexual harassment within a family. Sekhar Kammula examines the definition of honour in such situations. The rushed climax is a bit of a letdown but despite that, Love Story is Sekhar Kammula’s most complete film yet.
Sai Pallavi is unbelievably effortless when she’s dancing like nothing else matters. She’s a treat to watch and this is one of her best performances in recent years. It’s no surprise that she’s good at dancing but she stuns you with her expressions, especially when she’s struggling to reveal a secret she’s been holding onto for years. Naga Chaitanya, on other hand, is equally good and is very earnest on screen. As a pair, they shine. Even in the dance scenes, it is refreshing to see Chaitanya match steps with Sai Pallavi and not the other way around. Rajeev Kanakala, who is usually sidelined in supporting roles, gets a very meaty part and he nails the character and his Telangana accent.
The ending of Love Story needed more heft. Also, for a film that talks about issues associated with caste-based discrimination, it’s a little disappointing that it rarely mentions the word caste and instead prefers using ‘us’ and ‘them’.