Dear Comrade movie review: Vijay Deverakonda’s film is a beautiful tale of love with shades of Arjun Reddy
Film: Dear Comrade
Director: Bharat Kamma
Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Rashmika Mandanna, Shruti Ramachandran, Jayaprakash and Brahmaji
Bharat Kamma’s Dear Comrade is not your regular boy-meets-girl and they fall in love kind of love story. It’s a journey of two characters – Bobby (Vijay Deverakonda) and Lily (Rashmika Mandanna) – coming together and transforming each other in some way. Come to think of it, Dear Comrade isn’t just about love. It is the story of finding that true companion and truly surrendering oneself without any inhibitions. Bobby and Lily find a comrade in each other and how they complete each other makes Dear Comrade a refreshing tale of love and companionship, in spite of minor pacing issues.
Bobby plays a student leader and he wears his machismo on his sleeves. Thanks to his hot-headed nature, he keeps finding himself in violent situations and has issues managing his anger. Enters Lily into Bobby’s life and she takes him by surprise, and he eventually falls for her. Lily, a state-level cricketer, takes Bobby on a journey of self-realization and transformation. However, despite her earnest efforts to keep him off the path of violence, he gets drawn toward it and this attitude threatens to tear their relationship apart.
Dear Comrade is both beautiful and problematic as it is the kind of film you end up falling in love with or hating outright. For instance, at a key juncture in the movie, Bobby wishes to become more important than cricket in Lily’s life. It’s a silly proposition and you’re made to wonder why a girl should give up on her dreams for the sake of the man in her life. Initially, this scene comes across as very problematic in a film in which we have an independent woman with big dreams. Thankfully, Bharat Kamma doesn’t make his heroine suck up to the hero and delivers a strong message that no woman should give up her passion for love.
The film does have traces of Arjun Reddy, especially when we see Bobby seething with rage. However, as characters, both Arjun Reddy and Bobby are very different because they come from different economic backgrounds, have different ideologies and approach life differently. Bobby is protective of Lily, and he’s both her strength and weakness. Dear Comrade, despite some problematic moments and pacing issues, is elevated by the terrific performances of its lead cast and Justin Prabhakaran’s soul-lifting music. Vijay Deverakonda’s character arc changes so many times but he delivers with ease. But the real star of the film is Rashmika Mandanna, who makes Lily one of the most memorable and strong female lead characters of recent times with her splendid performance. It’s amazing how she holds her own among a group of men and makes her presence felt.
Dear Comrade does tumble towards the end with a slightly below par climax, but it’s still an effort you want to appreciate. It presents a hero who is fearless and possesses strong values. You might want to question his actions, but he definitely makes you sit up with his approach to life. The film, about life, love and facing our worst fears, achieves more than one can imagine and that’s what makes it a winner.
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