It is still Monday and I have one leftover from the weekend. And I finished watching the new Telugu film Ante Sundaraniki on Netflix. I am a huge fan of Nani right from his Jersey days and since then I have been keeping a tab on his filmography and actively watching his new releases. So when I got to know that he is teaming up with Nazriya(who I absolutely adore as well), I was naturally excited. Now this was not a PAN India movie and so it may just about had a limited theatrically release here in Mumbai. While I missed out on its theatrical release, I heard many good things about the film making me eager for its OTT release. Finally the film Ante Sundaraniki is out on Netflix and here are my two cents on it!
Story & Screenplay
Ante Sundaraniki follows the story of a young couple who look to manipulate their conservative parents for marriage by a sequence of lies. The story is light and frothy and slightly over the top but entertaining! I remember my grandmother telling me not to lie or wish for something bad and it may come true at some point. That advice somehow has stuck on with me where I do not wish anything bad for anyone. Somewhat based on this theme, Ante Sundaraniki had a promising premise. The screenplay standing at almost 3 hours is outright daunting and one of the reasons why I didn’t get to the film yesterday during the day(where I opted for a much shorter Malayalam film Dear Friend). And while watching the film too I felt that some portions could have been trimmed out for a crisper watch.
But there is so much to like in the screenplay. Firstly the screenplay is layered and there is a constant TO and FRO between timelines, all throughout the film. This for me was interesting given that the story was fairly simple so I really appreciate the efforts of the writer to try a different template for the screenplay. Secondly, the proceedings are entertaining to the core. Despite its length, there is never a dull moment. On the contrary, the sequences are breezy and frothy and also at times hilarious which constantly keep you engaged.
There are so many set pieces which are impressive in the writing which falters only towards the end where the drama gets slightly melodramatic. The drama is fairly predictable but some of the twists and turns are quite interesting especially before the melodramatic final act. This contributes to several heartwarming moments as well between the couple and their banter with their parents makes for a fun watch! The issue of an interfaith marriage and age old customs are nicely woven in the screenplay which never get too tiring. Overall, the screenplay has its fun element intact which makes for an entertaining watch!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but the humour is so well extracted through the lines. The dialogues found me chuckling more often than not which means the job was done! The music is really good and blends perfectly with the mood of the drama. The BGM is pretty good and it heightens the drama at many places. The cinematography is really good and caotures some beautiful frames. Director Vivek Athreya does a tremendous job in holding on to tje narrative so well and seldom does he manage to waver your attention. The proceedings are light and frothy with a constant dose of humour which makes for an entertaining watch. This meant that the direction was really good here.
The performances are really good here. Rohini, Nadia Moidu, VK Naresh and Azhagam Perumal as the parents of the couple are outstanding and contribute to several heartfelt and hilarious moments. Anupama Paeameswaran as Soumya has her moments to shine. Tanvi Ram as Pushpa makes an impactful presence onscreen. Nazriya Nazim as Leela looks so pretty and does a fabulous job. She has a charming presence with such a disarming smile that it is hard not to like her. Nani as Sundar is exceptional in a refreshingly different role. I haven’t seen such an interesting character essayed by Nani in a long time. And he does a brilliant job in making the character likable. The duo share some sizzling chemistry between the two which contributes to the overall viewing of the film.
Ante Sundaraniki is a light, frothy, breezy and a heartfelt watch which is absolutely worth your time. Available on Netflix.