Telugu Film review: Krishna Leela is about a man in love with women
If you love more than one flower, why can’t you love more than one woman? The film is a commentary on dating today
Man loved woman. Woman loved man. Man married woman and they lived happily ever after.
Well, not quite.
What if instead of woman, man loved women (yes, in plural)? And lied to them both? Not because he was a terrible person, but only because he couldn’t bear to choose between them
Krishna And His Leela explores exactly this scenario. Love triangles are passé. This is a world of crisscrossing lines where it isn’t exactly a moral taboo to love more than one person, but it is cardinal sin to stack lies upon lies and hope for such a jalebi of a situation to straighten out on its own.
Through the entirety of its two-hour runtime, Krishna And His Leela offers a refreshing, brutally honest take on millennial romance. Director Ravikant Perepu has used his prowess as a storyteller to shine the light on the logistics and navigational issues of modern dating. The tone of the film is light and conversational. The characters of the story feel real, look real, and make you go, “yep, that happened to me.”
This is Perepu’s second film after the award-winning Adivi Sesh starrer Kshanam (2016). He and Siddhu Jonnalagadda worked together on several aspects of Krishna And His Leela; the screenplay, dialogues, and editing along with some of the song lyrics.
Siddhu Jonnalagadda was last seen in a serious role in Kalki which released last year.
In this film, he plays the role of Krishna, an overgrown man-child who gets dumped by his senior Sathya (Shraddha Srinath), gets together with his junior Radha (Shalini Vadnikatti), and cries on the shoulders of Rukhsar (Seerat Kapoor) when the other women in his life become too much for him to handle. Along the way, he also battles daddy issues and a career-related quarter-life crisis.
Krishna is rather endearing despite being a total jerk on several occasions. His first on-screen interactions with both the female leads, overturn toxic masculinity on its head. His sexist remarks are countered with sass and his inability to take rejection is stonewalled by unflinching determination. While his first girlfriend dumps him because her feelings towards him have changed, his second girlfriend dumps him when he lies to her about several things including the re-entry of his first girlfriend in his life.
Since Krishna claims to truly love both women, drama ensues along with heartache for our goodhearted Casanova and his two paramours.
But even as the story revolves around these three, the movie gains quite a lot of its weight from its well-developed supporting characters.
Krishna’s sister (Samyuktha Hornad) is shown dating a Sikh guy who speaks fluent Telugu, which is exactly the kind of representation one would expect from a movie based on “true rumors.” As a Sikh woman, I was pleased to see that the movie did not use any part of the stereotypical “funny sardar” trope and that the topic of inter-faith marriage between a North Indian and a South Indian has been handled with respect and casual subtlety, exactly as it should be.
Rukhsar, Krishna’s roommate in Bengaluru is depicted as a free-spirited woman who runs a bar and café. Even though the first things Krishna notices about her are her boldness and sex appeal, he never tries to get into her pants. In the second half of the film, Rukhsar becomes Krishna’s friend and confidante. She displays a remarkable ability to get inside his head, which sometimes terrifies him.
Furthermore, the film handles romantic jealousy with the kind of maturity not often seen in Indian cinema. While Sathya and Radha don’t like each other for obvious reasons, they don’t tear each other down and they don’t engage in masala antics like catfights or verbal sparring.
The male characters of the film, including Krishna, do mouth some problematic dialogues at certain points, but they are never glorified or idolized, which is the major saving grace of those few scenes.
The soundtrack also deserves to be applauded here, because of its contribution to the narratve. The songs seamlessly flow through the scenes, enriching and deepening them. Music Director Sricharan Pakala catches the pulse of Vizag and Bengaluru with his creative blend of carnatic music, Tollywood, and jazz.
There is plenty to love about this ultimately heartwarming entertainer. The fact that the director and the main cast and crew of the film are all industry outsiders, is another feather in its cap in this era of polarizing debates on nepotism across the Indian film industry.
All in all, Krishna And His Leela delivers what it promises. A clean, fun, and relatable film for young adults.
There is plenty to love about this ultimately heartwarming entertainer. The fact that the director and the main cast and crew of the film are all industry outsiders, is another feather in its cap in this era of polarising debates on nepotism across the indian film industry.
All in all, Krishna And His Leela delivers what it promises. a clean, fun, and relatable film for young adults.
Published: 05 Jul 2020, 10:30 PM