When was the last time I had so much fun watching a film about a bunch of nitwits bungling through a series of adventures in a cybercity blunder and that sometimes border on zapped-out inanity but somehow always manage to tease a chuckle out of the audience?
Cinema celebrating silliness cannot afford to be silly like this week’s other release Hello Charlie which is as stupid as its duh protagonist. In fact, a film about absurdly misguided over-reachers must be manned by a mood of masti generated by exceptionally intelligent minds who know the writing and direction cannot afford to slacken for even a minute of the storytelling.
It doesn’t in Jathi Ratnalu, a crazy goofy, zany absurdist comedy about three small-towners making their winding whimsical way through Hyderabad. It’s all done in the spirit of anything-goes defiance of the come-and-get-me times with the writers and constantly breaking rules. At one juncture Pollishetty shouts, ‘Sarfaroshi ki dil mein Tamanna…Samantha, Rashmika…”
Many times you want to tell these helium-exhaling hustlers to slow down. But then, what the hell! Let them have fun.
The actors are bang-on, getting into the recklessly adventurous spirit. Naveen Pollishetty who leads the cast is specially combustive with his throwaway one-liners on any and every topic under the sun, from global ‘warmation’ to the Indian ‘constipation’(read: constitution). The misplaced all-knowingness of this trio is certainly more engaging than the protagonists in Raju Hirani’s 3 Idiots. This trio in Jathi Ratnalu, I felt, is the real tribute to idiocy.
Pollishetty plays Srikanth the kind of busybody who thinks he knows everything. Little does he know! His two constant companions Ravi (Rahul Ramakrishna) and Shekar (Priyadarshi) are equally smug in their stupidity and proud to let us, the audience, into their world of outrageously over-the-top antics, or shall we call them hijinks? Or just plain wastrels’ lunacy?
Midway through the madness Srikant and his two uncontrollably trouble-making friends are embroiled in the attempted murder of a sleazy sports minister (Murli Sharma, whose villainy in Telugu cinema is as seasoned as it is popular). There is also a charming girl next door (Faria Abdullah) whom Srikant woods with cheesy one-liners that won’t work even in group chats. The girl’s father fumes at his daughter’s taste in boyfriends. Srikant he describes as a “half-smoked cigarette butt”.
These one-liners work because the writing is clear on the drawl. And because Pollyshetty’s comic timing reminded me of Govinda. He is quick on the uptake and swift with his comebacks. The film also has some terrific cameos including Vijay Deverakonda re-defining the colour blue in the climax. The veteran Bramhanand as the judge in the courtroom is hilariously deadpan, sarcastically asking the inept lawyer-heroine, who admits to getting her lawyer’s degree by fudging, which movie she has watched to learn what to say in court.
The wondrous tongue-in-cheek one-liners together with a script that noisily invites our attention to joining the party at our own risk, make Jathi Ratnalu a jalopy joyride.
Image source: Instagram/naveen.polishetty