'Boys Hostel', the Telugu-dubbed version of the Kannada campus comedy 'Hostel Hudugaru Bekagiddare', was released in theatres today (August 26).
The story is set in Thunga Boys Hostel. A young hostler named Ajith (Prajwal BP) wants to make a short film. During the scripting stage, he develops an idea in which the hot-headed hostel warden (Manjunath Nayaka) dies. Much to the shock of Ajith and his friends, the warden dies by suicide in real life. His suicide note names Ajith and his roommates (played by Srivatsa Shyam, Tejas Jayanna, Bharath Vashisht, and Aniruddha). The friends fear a police investigation and decide to project the suicide as an accident. They have to take the dead body out of the hostel. In this, they take the help of their drugged senior Guruji (Nithin Krishnamurthy). Everything goes downhill as they try to smuggle the dead body out of the 4th floor of the hospital. There is also a twist.
In recent months, Telugu cinema has witnessed contemporary comedies such as 'Jathi Ratnalu', 'Pareshan' and 'Mem Famous'. The film under review comes from Kannada and is even more whacky than 'Pareshan' and 'Mem Famous'. A declared hit in Karnataka, the black comedy set in a hostel has been dubbed into Telugu by Chai Bisket Films and Annapurna Studios. The involvement of the Chai Bisket brand has ensured something specific. The quality of dubbing is just fab. Just the other day, this reviewer's enthusiasm was dragged down by the poor dubbing for Prasanna's character in 'King Of Kotha'. Every year, a lot of Tamil and Malayalam movies are dubbed into Telugu. And most of them don't make any solid effort to make the dubbing sound natural. The heroes sound the same, villains sound the same, the comedians sound the same. For a change, 'Boys Hostel' is a far cry. No voice is dry; the conversations between the noisy, anxious youngsters feel natural.
When the Kannada original was released, critics described the film as inventive, self-reflective and self-aware. The genre of comedy we see in the Nithin Krishnamurthy directorial is rare. The reactions of the multiple characters, as they try to secretly smuggle out the dead body from the fourth floor of the hostel building to the first floor, one floor at a time, are unpredictable.
Usually, in buddy comedies or teen comedies set on a college campus, the reactions of the youngsters are derivative. They all behave in predictable ways, their sense of comedy involves making problematic jokes about others' looks, skin colour, etc. In 'Boys Hostel', the possibilities afforded by a crime comedy and a dark comedy have been put to the best use. And the key characters react in different ways. It is as if their dialogues have been written by ten different writers.
The Telugu-dubbed version is also made all the more entertaining by the organic way in which social media trends have been used to lend a contemporary touch. The 'Chaduvukondi first-uu' meme, the 'Srujana' meme, the 'Adhi naa samskaram' meme and many others come and go without crying for the audience's attention. None of them is meant to extract cheap laughs.
If you are planning to watch 'Boys Hostel' (on OTT especially), watch it from start to end. The comedy won't make any sense if you don't follow the story at a stretch. This is not a 'Samajavaragamana' for the scenes to make sense in a standalone manner.
B Ajaneesh Loknath's background score is flawless. The performances are simply brilliant.
'Boys Hostel' is one hell of a comedy meant for those in the 18-30 age group. It's one of the most contemporary comedies to come out of Indian cinema in years.