Amaram Akhilam Prema Review – A listless, cringe-worthy romance

Srivathsan Nadadhur

Amaram Akhilam Prema is a bloated stalkfest, glorified as a romance. It symbolises everything that’s wrong with Telugu cinema – a wastrel of a male protagonist who has no job but for perpetually wooing a girl whom he has fallen for, at first sight, the girl being a bigger bimbette to tolerate it, give him that space and mistake it as a sign of true love. The title would have helped you guess the names of its lead protagonists by now; if you didn’t, they’re Amar and Akhila. The film is about these two characters you never empathise for; and as if they weren’t enough, there’s a father who doesn’t know the thin line between obsession and parenting, hamming his way as if there’s no tomorrow.

The kind of love that Akhila and her father share is another level altogether – here’s a father who’s in conversation with a principal about changing the timings of his daughter’s school to suit her sleep time. Let that sink in. She’s the daughter who shares everything about her life with the painfully-doting father and the latter even goes onto lecture the boys/men who’ve had a liking for Akhila. He’s a father who puts up a sullen expression when the daughter even casually jokes about going abroad for her further education. In simple terms, he’s an irritating mix of the father that Prakash Raj was in Aakasamantha and Bommarillu. It’s a kind of love that stifles you and could also make you go diabetic.

Amar is no less amusing. He’s told to be a musician and is part of a band – there’s an intro song where you get a glimpse of his singing talent. His father forces him to manage his book shop later and find some purpose to his life; Amar’s facet as a musician never comes to the fore again and is conveniently forgotten. Amar suddenly spots a girl, announces her as his love interest.  The girl’s clearly disinterested though that’s the least of Amar’s concerns. And the story takes the expected route – the girl falling for the guy despite initial friction. Amaram Akhilam Prema goes to the extent of glorifying Amar as a saint and an embodiment of pure love.

For the idea of selfless love that Amaram Akhilam Prema goes preaching about, the weakest part in the film is the love track. The girl is reduced to an ever-sobbing, vulnerable, oppressed being (even these adjectives won’t suffice to describe her) that she always needs a man, be it her father or her love interest, to rescue her. She doesn’t have any agency to take her own decisions and the characterisation is so unrealistic and regressive. There’s not a single redeeming quality about the boy that would make any girl fall for him.  But for the character of the girl’s father, the world around them is a blur – everyone else appears to be mere sidekicks who behave inanely without purpose or thought.

The film painfully reinforces all the stereotypes that Telugu cinema was attempting to break away from, in the recent past. A 20s something guy goes onto a tell 50s something father about what went wrong with his parenting all these years and walks away with a heroic impression of having mastered rocket science. Most characters exist only to glorify the image of the male lead – the turn of events get ridiculous with time. At a point when the girl distances herself from the guy, it’s laughable that the latter talks of contemplating suicide. After all, what was so epic about their love? The dialogues philosophise so much, pointlessly rhyme and are melodramatic.

Some fine talents like Keshav Deepak, Bindu, veteran actors like Naresh, Annapurnamma are given second rate roles. Srikanth Iyengar’s portrayal of a melodramatic father can’t do much to hide the deficiencies in the writing. However, Amaram Akhilam Prema’s major undoing is the casting of the leads – Vijay Ram offers the same expression throughout the film regardless of the situation and so does the television actor Shivshakti Sachdev, who looks artificially dolled up and lifeless. Rasool Ellore’s cinematography is decent but not enough to salvage this mess. Radhan’s music is no match to his previous work and the poor choice of singers isn’t good news for the senses at all.  Director Jonathan Vesapogu’s narrative has zilch emotional connect. This is a two-hour-long ordeal you wouldn’t even want the worst of your foes to go through.

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