ALA REVIEW - SWEPT AWAY BY A TIDE OF TERRIBLE IDEAS

ALA REVIEW - SWEPT AWAY BY A TIDE OF TERRIBLE IDEAS

It's a long flight for Suri to reach the US, as he wraps his engineering course and looks set to start life afresh abroad with an MS course. Accompanied by his friend, the trip gives him the necessary space to look back at his life. It'll be better say that the over-curious friend through the journey pesters Suri all along to narrate episodes from his college days. Ala sets its story up amid a college backdrop and a group of happy go-lucky-friends whose focus is single-mindedly on their love lives. Every bottle of beer, dinner or lunch they share is about how the guy or the girl makes or plans the next move in a relationship. And they're so aimless about it that it also leads to the death of a major character too. Ala's needlessly overstretched plot revolving around Suri and his coming of age should have been an extended short film at best. Happy Days was a film that made college love stories feel cool all over again. Many have tried to re-do its so-called success formula yet again, but no film has barely come close to recreating the nostalgia and the struggles of the late-teenage phase in Telugu cinema that well. For a supposed college drama, not a single sequence is set in a classroom. Until the final stretch, there's no semblance of a plot. There are conversations, there are conversations and there are more of them. One among the friends demands the other guy's girlfriend be called a sister. Another friend advises his pal to not date an NRI girl because of her apparent rapport with other men beyond her love interest. The talk is so regressive and the friendship isn't built on such silly talk. It feels as if the characters in the film merely have a vocal urge of sorts that they fulfill through the narrative. The main conflict of the film, i.e. the death of a friend and the inability of a guy to move past that, isn't as emotional as it appears, because of the terrible acting. All talk about acting mettle is inconsequential to a lineup of amateur actors who don't even bother to strain their eyeballs in the critical junctures of the movie. Its lead actor Bhargav Pommera is the weakest link in the armoury whose potential (or the lack of it) did stand exposed. Not only the casting or the story, but the director is also let down by a muddled screenplay. If something at all works for the film, it's the rustic cinematography and quality music by Srinivasa Sarma. Though the situational relevance of the songs isn't anything you would want to drive home about, most of the numbers sung by notable names like Chinmayi Sripada, Unni Krishnan and Vijay Yesudas provide some soothing moments in the film after all. Sarath Palanki as a director needs to be extremely sure of the material he chooses for a film next and make better efforts to cast his actors. It perhaps justifies why the film had to stream straight on a digital platform after multiple attempts to ensure a theatrical release. Rating: 1/5



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