'Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam', produced by Sri Venkateswara Cine Chitra, is bankrolled by Bapineedu B and Sudheer Edara. It is presented by BVSN Prasad.
Arjun Kumar Allam (Vishwak Sen) is 33 and is about to get married to Madhavi (Rukshar Dhillon) in an arranged marriage set-up. Just as he starts dreaming about a happy marital life with her, he discovers that Madhavi may not be interested in him. What consequences does this have for him? How do he and his family deal with the fallout of a dream shattered? Will Arjun ever be able to convince Madhavi? Answers to these questions are found in the second half.
Vishwak Sen proves himself in a role where he has to look a bit unsophisticated and mildly caricaturish. His body language does seem somewhat unsettling here and there, but the comic relief he offers is consistently enjoyable. Without a doubt, the watchability of this film would have been abysmal without him.
Rukshar Dhillon of 'Krishnarjuna Yuddham' fame emotes well in sentimental scenes.
Ritika Nayak as Vasudha, Madhavi's sister, is enjoyable. She shows spark and subtlety. Goparaju Ramana of 'Middle Class Melodies' fame and Kadambari Kiran are entertaining as the relatives of Arjun and Madhavi, respectively. Rajkumar Kasireddy as a photographer is fun to watch. Kedar Shankar is typical, while Tamil actor Ashok Selvan has a cameo.
Jay Krish's music sounds different from the kind of music Vivek Sagar has introduced in recent years. 'Oo Aadapilla' and 'Sinnavaada' are entertaining. The BGM is simple yet effective.
The visuals are lovable, thanks to Pavi K Pavan's cinematography. Viplav Nyshadam's editing and Pravalya Duddupudi's production design look comprehensive.
The film under review is touted to be the first Telugu feature film to have a show-runner. Writer Ravi Kiran Kola is its script-writer as well as a show-runner. Kola, for the unversed, has previously directed 'Raja Vaaru Rani Vaaru'. You know what is common between 'RVRV' and 'Ashoka Vanamloo..'? Both films start off very well but lose their fizzle in the second half.
The audience's expectations while watching a film set in a village or a small town are manageable. The film under review unfolds in a Godavari village where the characters don't have to work hard to impress the audience. They are found cute even if they caricaturize themselves. To this film's credit, the performances are able and the dialogues sound very natural.
The male lead's characterization keeps us invested in the story in the first half. We enjoy Arjun Kumar's insecurities and heart-felt feelings. The rom-com track between Arjun and Madhavi is atypical, given that it is happening in the backdrop of the latter's home. Two families are observant and are policing them from the sidelines.
The story, however, starts becoming escapist in the second half. The scenes are cliched and the ideas falter thick and fast. Even here, if the film manages to not bore us to death, it is because of just one actor and you know who it is.
The climax is simplistic, much like the direction the story takes.
Good performances and a well-written first half are this movie's chief merits. The escapist entertainment found in the second half is underwhelming.