Brahmotsavam May Be A Big Blow At The Boxoffice

…But It Is Destined To Be Acknowledged As A Minor Classic, Says Subhash K Jha

So the blame game has started. Whenever an excessively ambitious film flops, the  doomsday revellers have a field day demolishing the endeavour as though it deserves every bit of its debacle.

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And so it is that Mahesh Babu’s fans are busy breaking the internet with condemnation for director SrikanthAddala, who contrary to the boxoffice results, has done a fine job and a very ambitious and ultimately unmanageable task of putting together the ultimate homage to that near-extinct institution that we once so revered.

The Indian Joint Family.

The film is a sublime take-off on Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Saath Saath Hai . The sprawling acres of festivity populated by relatives friends and associated who keep popping in and out to partake in the pleasures of brotherly bonhomie.The epic canvas is done up with far more finesse than was seen in Barjatya’s film.

In Bramhotsavam the vast family is captured in panoramic swoops of  celebratory songs and dances shot in striking colours of ecstacy.It’s a pleasure to treasure watching Mahesh Babu step back from the centre of his universe to  allow the whole mammoth cast a stroll across the canvas to remind us that the pleasures of a united Hindu family are not over. Not yet.

Filled with some very endearing actors Brahotsavam is what Barjatya’s Hum Saath Saath Hain would have been had it been done at a more aesthetic scale.The heightened emotions of a family that lives, eats, sings dances and, yes, worships, together are here scaled to a steep level  of emotional expression. But the tone never gets shrill. This is the magic of Brahmotsavam that the disappointed audiences have missed completely. The characters are trapped in time-zone where bliss is generated by a self-governed democracy of domesticity that has no connection with the reality outside the family mansion.

The way the director weaves in and out of the family idyll’s endless excursions into euphoria is emphatically endearing to watch. At the helm of the helium-induced euphoria is the father-son relationship played at a perfect pitch by Sathyaraj and Mahesh Babu.

From their body-language we can see the two are buddies first, father-son thereafter.

Not that Mahesh Babu is any less attached to mother, played by Revathi. He can as easily discuss saree shades with her as he can thresh over entrepreneurial finer-points with his father. The hero here seldom sits still. He is all over the house including the ladies’ section, just like [tooltip id="c1b465420d07c688942ed18eadfd9f92" keyword_color="#000000" background_color="#ffffff"][tooltip id="4db8f5608d45f5de7881d9bce162f4bf"]Salman Khan">[/tooltip][/tooltip] in Hum…Dil Chuke Sanam and Hum Saath SaathHain. He is the consummate metro-sexual man equally comfortable with his machismo and sensitivity.He befriends the two beauties Kajal Aggarwal and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, but commits himself to a relationship only with one.

Into the humdrum of the domesticity the director weaves the sounds of familial harmony and genealogical allegiances, torn sunder by the ‘outsider’, the disgruntled brother-in-law(Rao Ramesh) who can’t bear to see the joint strength  of Mahesh Babu and his screen-father presiding over the domestic paradise.

Mahesh Babu’s father’s quiet death(he dies unobtrusively while conversing with his son) signals the second movement  in the plot where the hero sets out to trace and collect his family roots from all over the country.

This is where the film’s silken threads , so delicately woven into the fabric of family together, comes apart at the seams, exposing a serious lapse of purpose and intent.

In some ways Brahmotsavam fails to hold together in much the same as the joint-family system. Just because family values are no more a matter  of predominant concern to our society at large, it doesn’t follow that the dynamics of familial unity are to be discarded by our cinema. Bramahotsavam is a brave and winsome effort to show the joint-family system as far from dead.

Long live the joint family.


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