Dear Comrade movie cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Rashmika Mandanna
Dear Comrade movie director: Bharat Kamma
Dear Comrade movie ratings: 3 stars
In the run-up to the release of Dear Comrade, starring Vijay Devarakonda and Rashmika Mandanna, there was confusion over the genre of the film. Taking a cue from the title, many thought it was a political film rooted in communist ideology. Later, the trailer elicited a déjà vu feel as we saw Deverakonda going through an emotional turmoil over his lost love. It kinda looked like Arjun Reddy, no? The actor, however, politely denied. Perhaps, he secretly wishes it’s about time that people get over Arjun Reddy and start appreciating his recent works. He also reminded the media that after his runaway blockbuster Arjun Reddy, he did three other movies from different genres.
I could imagine Deverakonda screaming inside his head: ‘Seriously! you guys don’t remember the film in which I played a timid, sanskari boy? At least you must remember the money it minted at the box office, right? What about the time when I played an NRI spoiled brat who accidentally becomes the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and ushered in a new era of governance? At least, you must recall my role from a horror-comedy, where I was troubled by a haunted car?’
It is simple, Geetha Govindam or NOTA or Taxiwala did not stick in the brains of the audience as deep as Arjun Reddy did. The modern-day Devdas story has set the bar too high for the actor. Now, he has to find the right script that allows him enough scope to outdo his Arjun Reddy success and set a new milestone in his acting.
Is Dear Comrade the new milestone in his career? I am afraid not. That doesn’t mean it is a bad film. I would take this film any day over three other films that..err.. he did post-Arjun Reddy. But, Dear Comrade will not stick in your brain for a long time. Is it probably because of the message-heavy note that Devarakonda reads in the end?
Influenced by valiant teachings of his grandfather (Charuhasan), a follower of communist ideology, Chaitanya Krishnan aka Bobby (Vijay Deverakonda) becomes a leader of a students’ union. He makes some dangerous and powerful enemies while fighting for students’ rights. We even get to see him do Lal Salam once and address his friends as Comrades a few times. But, it is a superficial setup, which debutant director Bharat Kamma uses to make the hero morally obligated to stand by his partner through thick and thin.
The focus from the petty college issues shifts when Bobby, literally, runs into Aparna Devi aka Lilly (Rashmika Mandanna). The blooming romance between the young neighbours takes the centre stage. We’re intrigued, thanks to soothing visuals shot by cinematographer Sujith Sarang, which is complemented by Justin Prabhakaran’s compositions. Prabhakaran’s Kadalalle (wonderfully sung by Sid Sriram and Aishwarya Ravichandran) does to Dear Comrade what Govind Vasantha’s Kaathalae Kaathalae did to 96. Ths song, the arrangement and the visualization create a very pleasurable viewing experience.
Dear Comrade is affected by the weak middle. It feels like a rehash of past movies with a hero who is on the path of self-discovery. However, the film picks up as we realize it is not the story of Bobby or his inner journey. It is the story of Lilly. Her battle with her fears and limitations. Her inability to overcome challenges posed by her family and the stigma that comes with doing the right thing. Finally, Bharat Kamma builds dramatic tension in the narration and even provides the audience with some gratification. But, before you know, the film is over. The pay off is too little and a bit late.