Year 2022 hasn’t been a great one for the Telugu film industry. While the situation is not as grim as Bollywood and the fans have been more kind and forgiving, one has to admit that this year has been below par for them. Barring the magnanimous RRR, Major and a couple of other releases, there have been many big budget films that have absolutely tanked at the Box Office. This may have to do with the boom of OTT or genuinely a lack of a good subject which has resulted in the audience not venturing to theatres. I did see a distinct lack of good writing in so many Telugu films this year(after watching them on OTT) which just proved my point further. The scenario is slowing getting out of hand which hss resulted in the producers guild stalling the shooting of their upcoming films in order to reassess the situation.
And so after Pakka Commercial that I happened to review yesterday, I had very little hope from the other Telugu film Happy Birthday which was again out on Netflix. I knew very little about the film and if anything it was the poster of the gun totting protagonist that gave me a bit of hope. So with much skepticism, I decided to watch and review the new Telugu film Happy Birthday which is streaming on Netflix. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Set in a fantasy world, Happy Birthday follows the story an increase in gun culture after the gun law is passed by a minister. The story is an absurd comedy and it was something that took me by surprise in a very good way. The humour is quirky with so many funny situations that makes for a hilarious joyride. The screenplay standing at 150 minutes might seem a little long but it passes off like a breeze!
First things first! This is unlike a typical Telugu film and it was heartening to watch a film which was genuinely trying to be different from the standard mass masala entertainers. The tone of the drama might seem absurd but the writers do well in setting this drama in a fantasy world. So you do not have to worry about things being far fetched. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the humour which begins from the very first scene.
There is a bit of intelligence to the drama too which unfolds almost like chapters. So each character has a bit of a backstory leading up to the current day scenario which does make for an interesting watch. You do need a little bit of focus to keep pace with the proceedings but the humour element is intact throughout. So you will find yourself laughing or atleast chuckling at the silliness of the drama in a good way.
One small drawback is that the writing does get slightly convoluted in the second hour with multiple subplots. Maybe a slightly focused narrative would have been helpful but this is a minor flaw in a chaotic film! Towards the end, all the loose ends start to tie in leading up to a final act which is hilarious and ballistic(almost literally). All in all, this is a very well penned screenplay that keeps you entertained throughout.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty and quirky with some meta references added too. And so, they most definitely create an impact. The music is average but trippy. The BGM is adequate and it could have been much better. The cinematography and art design are excellent. I really loved the use of dark pink shades which added to the ambience of the drama. Director Ritesh Rana who had also directed the brilliant film Mathu Vadalara, does an excellent job here. He really excels in creating a mad and chaotic world filled with humour which was simply excellent to watch and witness. There is never a dull moment here and for that the director must be applauded.
The performances are outstanding here. Satya as Max Pain made me laugh so hard with his goofy antiques. Harsha Chemudu is spectacular in a hilarious appearance as is Ravi Teja as Benami who is first rate. Priyanka Teja as Serena and Getup Srinu as William have their moments to shine. Rahul Ramakrishna as Gunda is good as well, as is Vidyullekha Raman who will tickle your funny bone. Vennela Kishore as Minister Rithwik has an impeccable sense of comic timing which is quite evident here. Naresh Agastya as Lucky is pretty good. But it is Lavanya Tripathi who lights up the screen in her dual role. She looks pretty and has a great screen presence wherein she pulls off both her roles extremely well.
Review Text Coming Soon