Maro Charitra : An ‘iPhone’ love story!
Release date: 25th March 2010
Director : Ravi Yadav
Music Director : Mickey J Meyar
Producer : Dil Raju
Starring : Varun sandesh, Anitha, Kota Srinivasa Rao and Others...
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Note: The film is a remake and also a modern day adaptation of K.Balachander’s cult film ‘Maro Charithra’. If you have seen the original, then it’s bound to influence your experience while watching this film. For this reason, we have decided not to give a rating to this film.

K.Balachander’s cult film, ‘Maro Charithra’ which released way back in 1978, has stood the test of time due to various reasons. Not only was it much ahead of its time, but also the film struck the right chord with the audience in terms of story telling and on screen chemistry between Kamal Haasan and Saritha. Thirty years later, the film has been remade in Telugu. Directed by Ravi Yadav, ‘Maro Charithra’ has been produced by Raju, Sirish and Laxman on ‘Matinee Entertainments’ banner. Varun Sandesh and Anitha stepped into the shoes of Kamal Haasan and Saritha in this film. The film is a modern day adaptation of yesteryear’s classic and now the story unravels in USA. It narrates the love story of an NRI and an ‘Anakapalli’ girl, who moves to US along with her family.

What is it about : Varun Sandesh stars as Balu, a 20 something whose family has settled in Buffalo, New York. He lives a carefree life and one fine day, decides to move back to his parent’s house. He bumps into Swapna (Anitha) who lives next door. Her family originally hails from Anakapalli and she’s told not to speak to strangers. Balu and Swapna are slowly drawn to each other; however they suffer from a language problem. Balu cannot speak Telugu and Swapna cannot speak English. They decide to teach other their languages and in the process they fall in love. Balu’s father and Swapna’s mother are always at odds with each other. Will Balu-Swapna’s love story succeed under such circumstances? How does the current generation deal with separation, family and love? That forms the rest of this story.

What is Good: Ravi Yadav, a cinematographer, who has worked on films like Race, Aitraaz in the past, has also directed this film apart from cranking the camera. His visualization of various locations, especially the first glimpse of Niagara Falls, Salt Lake City, Kansas and desert in Dubai is breathtaking. Of the star cast, it is Shraddha Das who makes the best impression as Sandhya. She has good dialogues in the film and delivers a confident performance. Urvashi (Swapna’s mother) and the other actress who played the role of Balu’s mother were also good. In fact, these two actresses are the only two who make us genuinely smile with their whacky dialogues.

What's Bad: First things first, K.Balachander’s original script for this film ‘Maro Charithra’ had all the ingredients to make a beautiful love story. Although, he has been credited for the original story of this film, the modern day adaptation is altogether a different story. It’s amateurishly written and Ravi Yadav commits a blunder of not understanding the very essence of what had made Balu, Swapna such iconic figures in the original film. The new age Balu (Varun Sandesh) is high on testosterone, puts on a wannabe accent, has ruffled hair and has a misguided sense of love. On the other hand, Swapna lacks individuality and behaves like a kid who would throw a tantrum to make her point. The love letters of yesteryear are replaced by webcams and iPhone which could have been put to a much better use. Swapna is in love with Balu, so much that she would go all the way to Las Vegas to have ‘fun’, but wouldn’t tolerate him kissing her in public. If only, the modern adaptation had been truly modern!

Comparing Varun Sandesh to what Kamal Haasan has done in the original would be blasphemy. Let’s just say, Varun Sandesh should have seen the films at least 100 more times to understand Balu’s character. The only parts of the film where he gets his act right is when he moves away from Swapna. Alas, these scenes are few and far between in the film. Anitha, the debutant with perhaps the broadest ever smile, is a major disappointment. Although, she does try to make an effort to act in the film, her voice makes it impossible to take her seriously. The selection of the artiste responsible for Anitha’s dubbing is perhaps one of the biggest blunders committed in this film. Adarsh Balakrishna’s role in this film is mediocre. But before you write him off, watch for his last scene in the film. It deserves a place in the annals of history. The character he portrays (Maddy), does something which has never been done before!

Technical Department: Mickey J Meyer’s music in the film is good; especially the music for ‘Ye Teega Puvvuno’ continues to haunt you for a while. Thaman’s background score is alright. Marthand K.Venkatesh’s editing could have been better in the first half. Ravi Yadav, the cinematographer is fairly impressive especially in the songs. However, when he dons his director’s hat, there is a lot left to be desired. He could have avoided setting more than 50% of the story near Niagara Falls. After a point, the actual falls are replaced by visual effects which make the whole set look flimsy. Better luck next time, sire!

Bottom Line: The modern adaptation of ‘Maro Charithra’ could have easily been inspired from films like ‘Padamati Sandhya Raagam’, ‘Ananda Thandavam’, since both of them deal with families which had just moved to USA. However, ‘Maro Charithra’ (2010) is neither of them, nor is it anywhere close to the original cult classic. It’s a film which doesn’t even come close to showing some respect to both K.Balanchander’s film and your intelligence. Maybe, Balachander himself would have done more justice to this modern adaptation had he directed it. For now, there are several lessons we can learn from this film:

Rule 1: Think twice before adapting a cult film.
Rule 2: Don’t forget Rule 1
Rule 3: If you have any doubts, refer to the above two rules.

Two thumbs down for this modern day adaptation of ‘Maro Charithra’. It’s just another mediocre film which shares the same name as that of a cult film.

P.S: ‘Happy Endings’ have never been this tragic!

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Legend:    5 - Flawless
                4 - Must Watch
                3 - One Time Watch
                2 - Wait for the DVD
                1 - Stay Away
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