What is the story about?
Battala Ramaswamy is a good-for-nothing villager who sells sarees across households to make a living. While performing the last rites of his father, he instantly falls for a girl Jayapradha. She insults him for his awkward glances, resists his advances but eventually begins to like Ramaswamy. Despite initial apprehensions from Jayapradha's parents about their relationship, the two fight all odds to tie the knot.
It’s smooth-going for the two until Jayapradha asks Ramaswamy to marry his child-like sister Jayasudha as well. Ramaswamy has little interest in the alliance for obvious reasons though his wife convinces him to go ahead with it. That's not all, he is yet again forced to marry another woman in strange circumstances for reportedly outraging her modesty. He tries hard to please his three wives equally but destiny has other plans for him.
Every life is worthy of a biopic, a line in this film says, but one wonders what about Battala Ramaswamy’s life appealed to its makers? This story is passed off as an adult comedy and it’s completely okay with celebrating polygamy (??) – the title character has three wives and a bulk of his life is lost in playing the peacemaker in between their petty quarrels. A significant half of the film only deals with the sex life of this man and the uncanny methods he uses to please his women on the bed.
A character goes onto describe her first night after marriage in graphic detail with every second stranger. A sequence also has a bunch of elderly women intriguingly watching a couple make love – the excuse being that it’s a custom within the family to certify the masculinity of the bridegroom. Marital rape is reduced to a joke in another scene. What were the makers exactly thinking? The film sexualises almost everything and leaves you embarrassed with the perverse treatment – the creepiness is a complete put-off.
The filmmaker Ram Narayan tries hard to recreate the EVV Satyanarayana-brand of comedy but makes a mess of it. The crassness in the execution is shocking and is repulsive; it leaves nothing to your imagination. Battala Ramaswamy Biopikku would’ve been reasonably interesting had the director visualised the story as a parody of sorts with someone like Sampoornesh Babu in the lead. This film is problematic because it takes itself too seriously and glorifies its lead character as if he were a saint.
Even structurally, the narrative is painfully incoherent and the continuity goes for a toss in many instances. It doesn’t get anything right – the beginning, the middle, the ending or anything between the three. The casting is disastrous and the length, indulgent. Battala Ramaswamy Biopikku leaves you with a bitter aftertaste. This is a comic variant you should ideally distance yourself from.
To put it mildly, the crass tone of the film is unbearable. The performances largely suffer because of the lack of restraint - this is a cast that can't rise above the mediocrity in the content. Theatre person Altaf Hassan isn't lead actor material at all and struggles to shoulder the burden of an entire film. The comic timing is completely amiss, the insipid characterisation doesn't give any opportunity for the viewer to root for him.
Shanti Rao is miscast as a village belle who's wooed by the protagonist. The inept styling doesn't augur her well either. The less said about Lavanya Reddy's annoyingly childish character and her equally intolerable performance, the better. Satvika Jay plays the part of a fiesty woman with conviction. If there's someone in the cast who even succeeds partially in tickling the funny bones of the viewers, it's Bhadram. The special appearance of Dhanraj hardly makes any impact.
Music & Other Departments
Ram Narayan's music is a mixed bag; there's very little situational value to songs barring a couple of numbers. The introduction song that captures the countryside of Andhra Pradesh, in particular, provides an arresting foundation to the film. The background score isn't exactly memorable. PSK Mani's lively cinematography is one of the film's few strengths, but it's a pity that these efforts go down the drain because of the preposterous story. The film is long by at least an hour and the absurdity-quotient in the climax makes you wonder what on earth was the filmmaker trying to suggest. The dialogues reek of double entendre with every second line referring to a man's genitals.
Funny only in parts
- Terrible story, worse performances
- Crass treatment
- The 136-minute duration
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?