Gunde Jhallumandi (GJ), yet another Telugu love story hits theatres today. When we say it's a love story set against a college backdrop don't think it's another Happy Days -- it's nowhere near that.
The starting point of GJ may seem slightly ridiculous to many but director Madan ensures that the movie makes for a fairly interesting watch in the first half while the second half kind of fades into the usual kind of triangular love-villain action-drama
Gunde Jhallumandi starts off with a daft decision by the leading lady Neelima (Aditi Sharma) whereby she announces to everyone in college that she is in love with one Rajesh (whom she just bumps into and sees his ID card) just to keep the boys at bay.
Her father had high expectations from his elder daughter who was a good student. She succumbed to the charms of a boy Munna but was subsequently married to someone else. Seeing her sister's plight, Neelima wants to keep away from boys. Little does she realise what is in store for her.
She meets Balraju (Uday Kiran), a boy from Arlagadda, who comes to Hyderabad for studies. Actually Balraju wants to become the Sarpanch of his place and the criterion to do so is to be a Bachelor of Arts.
When Balraju arrives in Hyderabad, it does not take him long to change thanks to Neelima and his precocious six-year old cousin. Neelima is cautious about Balraju even though she starts liking him. She often takes 'refuge' under Rajesh's name. She speaks to him (and the phone goes to Venu Madhav and this is the humorous vein in the story). Balraju too pretends he has a girlfriend, Lavanya. The whole of the first half passes quickly with Baraju's and Neelima's make-believe stories.
After the fun of the first half, we are introduced to the drama and action of the second. Neelima comes to know of Balraju's identity. Rajesh also surfaces.
Madan has fallen prey to the formulaic pattern more so in the second half. As a writer, Madan writes a good first half. He has of course the customary songs, action and romance interwoven in his script. Madan has given Uday Kiran the scope of doing a bit of every thing -- sing, fight and act. In the process, Madan has ensured an entertainer more for the youth and to some extent the family audience.
A heartening aspect was the taking up the cause of BA in the film. In fact Madan makes Uday Kiran give a lecture on why one should take up Arts subjects like History, Political Science, Economics and English.
Uday Kiran convincingly carries the film on his shoulders. He looks good and the effort he has put in is visible. He dances with elan and fights with menacing anger. As the lover boy, he is believable. This movie should provide him a much needed hit.
Aditi Sharma gives Uday Kiran good company. She looks glamorous and can act too. This debut in Telugu movies is sure to take her ahead in filmdom. She proves that winning the Zee Cine star ki khoj some years ago was no flash in the pan.
M M Keeravani's music and background score is appealing. The chorus of the title song lingers long after the movie is over. Camera work is satisfactory and the two songs shot outdoors (one at the Chennakesava Temple at Belur) are filmed well.
In a nutshell, Gunde Jhallumandi is a decent entertainer by Madan.