Pelli Choopulu – A Movie all about Expectations that Defied Expectations-Part 1

We take great pride to introduce a new writer to Marapuraani Chitralu- Spandana Vaidyula. She happens to be a Hardware Engineer who is quite passionate about Cinema and of course Telugu Novels. Welcome Spandana! Here is her first article on Pelli Choopulu: One of the biggest surprise packages in the year 2016.

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See, expectations aren’t necessarily negative. They are only human. Youngsters are expected to grow up and take care of themselves. Parents are expected to trust their kids and give them space to grow. A movie is expected to entertain and engage. (The reviews promised me a relatable story, next door characters, talented cast, witty dialogues, pleasant music. And boy did it deliver!)

The hero’s exasperated father (Kedar Shankara in an understated performance) expects him (Vijay Devarakonda as Prasanth) to clear his courses and stand on his feet. To be fair to the father, his expectations of his son are very realistic and accurate.

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Father: Ee saarina pass avuthava? (Will you be able to clear your courses this time?)

Prasanth: Ee saari pakka pass daddy! (This time definitely, daddy!)

Father: Nee valla kaadule gaani, chits pettukonaina pass avvu. (I know it is beyond your capabilities. Carry your notes and cheat out of them. At least that way you might be able to pass)

(Also, Vijay’s expressions after this line, priceless!)

And when he finds a low paying, under challenging call centre job for Prasanth, this is how he responds to Prasanth’s protests.

Father: Thermodynamics spelling cheppara? Manam peruke engineers. Potta koste aksharam mukka raadu. (Spell Thermodynamics? You are graduated out of dumb luck. You don’t know the “E” of Engineering)

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The heroine’s father (Gururaj Manepalli) expects her (Ritu Verma as Chithra) to get married at a suitable age. He would have liked it even better if she was born his son rather than his daughter. Prasanth is expected to choose a career that is considered respectable in society’s eyes. Ditto with Chithra and even Richa (Prasanth’s brief fiancée, even Google couldn’t tell me who the actress was!) with respect to their marriage. Anish Kuruvilla’s character initially appears to have zero expectations (No, that is not a good thing) from an apparent wastrel like Prasanth, but he has plans for him. Prasanth would be marrying Anish’s daughter Richa and taking over their businesses. In fact, the only people who accepted Prasanth for what he is and support him are his friends (who are just as clueless as he is) and his grandmother* (who is way past her prime and probably only wants to see her grandson happy). Even Prasanth sees Chithra and her business as means to impress Anish. Chithra wishes Prasanth would be more responsible in his new job. What makes their relationship special?

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*The grandmother always put a smile on my face whenever she appeared on screen, whether it her shared interest of drinks with Prasanth or her tech-savviness (When Prasanth’s family were initially confused looking for address, she is the one to suggest looking google maps. If they had listened to her though, the would have gone straight to Anish’s house and Prasanth and Chithra wouldn’t have met. Hmm) And she’s always complaining about missing her TV serials inspite of the important Pelli Choopulu going on. Typical grandmothers!

We the audience, learn about Chithra and Prasanth in parallel. Actually, their stories do intersect at multiple points. (I promise, I will not attempt to make more Mathematics jokes) Chithra is an ambitious management student who minded her own the business, until the seemingly charming Vikram (Nandu)sweeps her off her feet. (I liked that this film gave all the filmy stalker behaviour to someone who clearly is not the right one for the grounded Chithra.)They were going to start their business and life together once he returns from Delhi. Only he doesn’t. (At least not until it is too late.) In a devastating scene, Chithra and her father are waiting for Vikram at the coffee shop. Chithra is feeling betrayed and is embarrassed to put herself and her father in that position. Her father is feeling humiliated and later angrily declares that she will marry a suitable groom of his choice. The silver lining of this failed relationship is that it briefly brings Chithra out of her rigid self probably for the first time. Even the lovely song “Chinuku thaake” is less about her feelings towards Vikram but how he makes her feel about herself.

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Prasanth on the other hand barely managed to complete his graduation. He is disinterested on academics, bored by his call center job and disillusioned by his girlfriend. His breakdown after he finds out that she had been seeing other guys behind his back was the funniest scene in the movie. He is trying to figure out what to do with his life with the help of his friends (Abhay as Vishnu and Priyadarshi as Kaushik*) all the while trying to avoid his father’s judgemental stares. They try all contemporary means of instant fame like making prank videos (in another hilarious sequence) He almost accidentally discovers his interest for cooking. He realizes his potential after experimenting in popular restaurant (where Chithra first tastes Prasanth’s food) under a reputed chef and trains himself. He attempts to make money out of making Youtube tutorials, but quickly learns that it is not a viable plan. His father criticizes his interest in cooking as it is not the most masculine job. Meanwhile a rich man had decided that Prasanth with his excellent horoscope (!) will be a good match for his daughter.

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*Vishnu and Kaushik are seen alongside Prasanth in most of his scenes. The even accompany him to his Pelli Choopulu. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have lives of their own. Vishnu is a photographer and Kaushik was, well, with all of his infinite wisdom I wish he actually wrote the book “Naa saavu nenu sastha, neekenduku?” (Let me ruin my own life, it’s none of your business) Priyadarshi was a clear stand out among the cast with his deadpan delivery of the film’s funniest lines in Telangana dialect.

That brings us to the actual Pelli Choopulu. Following an idli related accident, our Chithra and Prasanth are locked in Chithra’s room along with a kid which is when they frankly discuss their past and how they got to this point. Neither of them are fully into getting married then. At least she, more than he. She wants to move to Australia and he is not ready for anything serious in his life. In another hilarious dialogue from Kaushik again, he advises Prasanth to explain to the girl how clueless he is, in an attempt to convince her to back off from this match. But, for Prasanth there is an incentive in this alliance. His bride would bring all her father’s wealth as dowry. There is an interesting discussion as Chithra disapproves buying a marriage, whereas Prasanth in all his laziness sees nothing wrong in living off his father-in-law’s money, especially since he is not capable enough to support himself and his future wife.

This is around the time when they are freed from that room and (Twist!) learn that Prasanth had come to Chithra’s house by mistake. Someone else was supposed to come and meet Chithra that day. And Prasanth’s rich prospective bride and father-in-law lived next street. Obviously, because we’ve been in her house up until now, we’ve already noticed that they are not as rich as he believed.

Here we have – an over achieving Chithra and an under ambitious Prasanth who are polar opposites in most ways, but are now chafing under their parents’ expectations. And that is not they only common thing that they share. Neither of them likes dipping samosa in sauce. (I approve of their taste :)) How will they find out they are perfect for each other? Will their parents approve of their love for each other? Will their parents approve of their career choices? Watch out for the next part.

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