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Bollywood Movie Reviews

Kushi, Plastic Emotions, Synthetic Smiles




Rating: **

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.

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