Hello Movie Review: It Has A Beautiful Heart


Starring Akhil AkkineniKalyani Priyadarshan

Directed  by Vikram Kumar

Rating:***(3 stars)

There  is  much yet to be said about the first flush of love.Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name does it in  one way. VikramKumar, more conservative than those pants-dropping Italians  does  it another way in Hello, the new engaging Telugu film re-launching  young Akhil Akkineni as a  man so in love with a girl he meets during childhood at  the traffic stop, he can’t get passed the traffic jam.

 Inured in improbabilities but driven by a kind of endearing innocence  that makes  the love’s most improbable lurches seem  tenable Hello gets your attention for its simplicity and absence  of swagger. The  lead pair Akhil and newcomer Kalyani Priyadarshanhave a  much more difficult task at hand than it outwardly seems. For  most of the film the couple has to be in love without showing it to one another.

In most of the supple narrative Akhil searches  for the  girl he  loves. It’s all about finding rather than  enjoying love. This is where action takes over. The chase sequences last for what seems  like  an eternity.And  we thought only true love lasted that long! The narrative  is unable to create  asense  of deep longing.This isn’t that  kind of film. This is Mani Ratnam’s Alai Payuthe without the angst and the hurt.

Hello is high on ideal love.The kind where Mills meets Boon with  a heavy heart and  a tune. The Valentine flavour is pungent. Director Vikram Kumar lays on the schmaltz in just the right doses. The childhood portions  of  the romance are shot in a kind of mellow monsoonal haze of rain and melody on tree tops and at paanipuristalls, overlayered with bouts of athletic sprints where  the  hero must chase down various  goons who inadvertently  obstruct his view of ideal love.

In both the romantic scenes and  the action scenes Akhil executes himself with an understated aplomb. None of  that big-boy bravado that Telugu-Tamil stars brandish to appear heroic. However be  warned, the chase sequences in a mall and down a cluttered highway though exciting are  unnecessarily  prolonged and serve  no purpose except to remind  us that the hero is  an all-rounder.

 Debutante Kalyani Priyadarshan has less  to do.And she does it without fuss or fanfare. There is a refreshing quietude surrounding the love relationship in Hello, as  though the director wanted us to know there is more to on-screen love than a  song a violin riff.While Akhiland Kalyani convey all the tender longings of a couple fated to struggle to find each other, Akhil’s parents are very effectively played by Jagapati babu and Ramya Krishna.

Ramya, fresh from her triumph in  Baahubali, has a very moving moment with her onscreen son when he finally acknowledges her as his mother rather than  ‘aunty’. Such illuminating moments don’t occur frequently enough in Hello. The narrative is so taken up with following its  young hero’s pursuit of  love that it barely has time to pause to catch its breath.When it does, there is  a music in the air that’s hard to define and even harder to resist.

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