This film is my Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
When I first saw DDLJ, I didn't get what all the fuss was about. But then I dug deeper and learned just why it's adored by so many. Although the movie has grown on me considerably, I think I still enjoy hearing about DDLJ and its success more than I do actually sitting down and watching it. Its just so awesome when you consider the film in its entire context, because it really was a turning point in Indian cinema. Bear with me--there's a reason why I bring all of this up!
You see, although I didn't have that initial experience with DDLJ, I grew to appreciate and understand it. So, when I saw this cute little Telugu film starring Siddarth and Genelia, and had my own touching moment with Bommarillu, I got soooo excited...Was this what others felt like when they first saw DDLJ?
Why compare the two? Well, in some ways they're glaringly similar; Both films share the same family values (yet Bommarillu mentions less of these being specific "Indian" values) and explore the oh-so-sweet taste of first love. Thankfully, though, it's nothing like the countless Hindi films that have attempted to mimic DDLJ in the past. Instead, Bommarillu has enough of its own points to make--and does so successfully--so that we never feel like we've been there, done that (or at least I didn't feel that way--there may be a Hindi or Telugu film out there similar to this one that I have yet to see).
Siddhu (Siddarth) is a young man who has lived mostly to please his father (Prakash Raj). As a result, his father ends up controlling every aspect of his life--his career, his clothes, even the way he eats his food.
However, when Siddhu discovers his father has arranged his marriage, he feels its time to put his foot down--yet never actually expresses his feelings to his pop. Instead, Siddhu vows to his friends that he will find his soulmate on his own; And, of course, he does, in a young girl named Hasini (Genelia D'Souza).
While the romance between Siddhu and Hasini blossoms, Siddhu's father continues to plan his son's wedding to the young woman he has chosen. I'm sure you can see where this is going, but there's an interesting catch to the good ol' filmi cliche--Once Siddhu's father discovers his son has been frolicking with some strange girl instead of eagerly counting the days to his wedding, he presents his son with an unexpected challenge; Hasini will be allowed to stay in the family's home for 7 days, and in those 7 days, Siddhu must convince his father that she is suitable for him. If he can accomplish this, he will receive the entire family's blessing. If not, he must marry the girl his father has chosen.
Do you see how this is all very DDLJ--yet with a twist?
I will admit that there were times during the first half that I noticed my mind wandering a little. That could be because I've never heard Telugu before, and relied solely on subtitle reading. I mean, I don't speak Hindi, either, but I've watched enough films that I can sometimes pick up on things that the subtitle guy forgets to translate, or concentrate on the visuals while simply glancing at the words. But with Telugu, I had to watch the bottom of the screen diligently...and it wasn't always easy to do with Siddarth's quirky yet charming smile competing for my attention!
However, once Hasini moved in with the family in the second half, the film got a whole lot more interesting. As Siddhu tries his hardest to get his family to accept his lady love, the relationship between Siddhu and Hasini changes as well. The events that occur and the reactions between the young lovers, their parents, and the entire family is so original and believable that I fell wholeheartedly for Bommarillu and never looked back.
The family values explored in Bommarillu moved me more than the actual love story did. That's not to take away anything from Siddarth and Genelia--they were adorable together, which I'll discuss in the next paragraph--but the scenes at the end between Siddhu and his parents really choked me up. It takes a lot for a familial storyline to resonate with me--My own family's never been close, sadly enough--but Bommarillu did just that. Why? Well, for starters, Prakash Raj and Jayasudha (Siddhu's parents) did an awesome job! You could almost hear the battle in Siddhu's mother's mind as she wrestled between supporting her husband and standing up for her son; And as Siddhu's father explained the reasons for his controlling ways, you just knew it was out of love!
Make no mistake, though--Siddarth and Genelia's love affair still owns much of Bommarillu's charm. Many of their antics reminded me of the joys of my own first love...Waiting by the phone for the "secret ring code"? Done that. Telling every detail to my girlfriends? Of course! Sneaking out for ice cream in the middle of the night? Well, not exactly--I never snuck out--but there's nothing sweeter than ice cream!! It's also worth mentioning that Siddhu tells Hasini at one point that he will not elope with her--but its not because of what his parents will think. He wants Hasini to have a good family, and therefore sticks out the 7 days for her sake. Aww--Now that's selfless love!
Siddarth, obviously, has quite a different role here than the last (and only) time I saw him in Rang De Basanti. While he probably did a better crafted job in that film, he was still the right choice for the role here. Yes, he could be over the top at times, but his comedic expressions (and quirky smile, as I mentioned above) seemed to come naturally for him.
As for Genelia, she completely annoyed me at first, but grew on me as the film progressed. I think I preferred her in Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na!, actually, but learned to love Hasini nonetheless.
Which brings me to, last but not least, the music. And wow, what music! I think I can safely say I loved the entire soundtrack to Bommarillu, both song-wise and picturization-wise. Maybe it had something to do with Siddarth's goofy-yet-suave dance moves, I don't know, but the music alone was enough to capture my heart. I don't know about you, but I can't get enough of "Appudo Ippudo"! Check it out below...
The best part of Bommarillu was the ending, but I don't want to include any spoilers so I won't say too much. But rest assured its completely satisfying... there's even good stuff as the credits roll, too(which, in my opinion, is always the icing on the cake)!
And there you have it--My own little DDLJ, and my very first Telugu film. Special thank you to Nicki for recommending it!