Please note: this review was withheld over the weekend so as to not affect its boxoffice collections.
If one had to describe Kushi in one word, it would have to be plastic. Nothing in this pseudo-romantic world seems real, not even Kashmir which looks like a facsimile of the kind of grim terrorscape we see in news footage and in films like Mani Ratnam’s Roja.
This is not the self-referenced life-in-a-bubble of Barbie. This is the handiwork of minds which think they are making an epic love story, a la David Lean’s Dr Zhivago or Mani Ratnam’s Roja.
Have you ever wondered what a storm in a teacup means? Kushi illustrates the phantom-storm syndrome to perfection. Vijay Devarakonda , trying hard to act like a loverboy who hates Arjun Reddy, plays a BSNL employee who begs his boss Joya(Rohini) to be posted “somewhere nice cool and exotic” .
She sends him to Kashmir. It turns out a punishment posting not for Devarakonda but for the audience who for the next hour or so is subjected to the most tawdry subversion of Kashmir’s terror links with Pakistan, with Samantha Ruth Prabhu masquerading as a Muslim ‘Begum’when she is actually a Brahmin.
Samantha is neither interested in transitioning believably from Beghum to Brahmin nor does she seem to follow her character’s journey from a tourist in Kashmir to a married woman struggling to keep thoughts of elusive motherhood from destroying her family.
If Samantha looks like a bewildering brew of broken and resilient, Devarakonda , saddled with a ridiculously rudderless character, oscillates between buffoon-lover and reluctant husband.
The film is guilty of overpowering mirage-play. If the Kashmir romance in the first- half looks painfully plastic, the couple’s marriage in the second-half is like a sloppy soap opera played deliberately at a low-octave to create an impression of sophistication.Accompanying the edified farce is a background score which punctuates every scene in italics.
Kushi is that rarest-of-rare romcom which revels in the spell of romance but actually there is little of any genuine emotions. It is all about posturing, with Devarakonda trying hard to look like a man who would do anything for love. The problematic plot allows him no breathing space as he goes from one rhapsodic phase of love to another without probing any emotion .
Shallow to the extent of seeming designed for a doll’s house, Kushi is one of the poorest demonstrations of on-screen love in recent years. The only silver living is the brief love story of Rohini and her screen husband Jayaram that shows up somewhere in this pretty-but-vacuous shindig.
I would like to see a whole film about Jayaram’s take on love. As for the main course, it is so bland as to induce a reverse indigestion.