‘Aa Okkati Adakku’ movie review: Allari Naresh’s film is as tedious as a comedy can get

Allari Naresh in a still from ‘Aa Okkati Adakku’
| Photo Credit: Saregama Telugu/YouTube

If you were to hand-pick a few moments from Allari Naresh’s Aa Okkati Adakku and watch them without context, you might take the film for a self-aware satirical comedy with its heart in the right place. Naresh gets many meta dialogues to speak of his comedic talents; Viva Harsha and Vennela Kishore frequently appear in situations offering ample space to force some laughs; and there’s a strong, relevant “message” at the centre of it all. But don’t let all that fool you, for this is a poorly-written comedy that infuriates us by taking itself too seriously, and even when it desperately wishes to be funny, it does nothing worth remembering.

Let me take you through a scene to show how chaotic and stale the writing gets in this film. The screenplay wants the heroine to cross paths with the hero. Our hero and his comedian buddy (Kishore) pose for photos on a beach rock. The heroine, to prove to her friend that all men are the same, tricks the comedian into entering the water and offers to hug and kiss whoever saves the drowning man. Every man on the beach rushes to his aid, except you-know-who… so she hugs and kisses him. Reserve all your doubts and reactions for later as this is not even the most cringe-worthy scene in the film.

Aa Okkati Adakku (Telugu)

Director: Malli Ankam

Cast: Allari Naresh, Faria Abdullah, Vennela Kishore, Jamie Lever, Viva Harsha

Runtime: 134 minutes

Storyline: An unmarried middle-aged man goes to extreme lengths to find himself a bride

The writing is uninspiring from start to finish, but what makes it even more frustrating is the guise of weaving the comedy act around a socially relevant cause — how matrimonial websites scam young men in India — with no real effort to dig deeper. To touch upon something, like the social conditioning that most Indian men and women have in their approach to getting married, might seem like a lot to ask of a masala comedy. But it’s baffling how facile it gets even in what it touches upon — the undue pressure that unmarried middle-aged men and women face in society, something its protagonist Ganapathy a.k.a Gana (Naresh) has to tackle.

Gana, ironically a registrar who marries young couples regularly, faces enormous peer pressure to get married especially after being rejected by some 50-odd women. He gives a matrimonial platform called Happy Matrimony a shot, where Platinum members get to meet 10 women. We immediately get a song as a cause for celebration because “… till now women rejected me, but now I’ll reject nine out of 10 women.” Over the course of the song, as the lyrics state, he rejects a doctor because her love letters wouldn’t be legible, a lawyer because she might argue too much, a tennis player because her voice is masculine, a model because she hugs men casually… I’ll save you from the rest of it.

And this is the smart gentleman who gets offended when the only girl he likes from the list, Siddhi (Faria Abdullah), sees him as just an option among 10 men and not as a human being. How dare she! So, Gana begins to pursue her relentlessly till she rejects the rest of the nine men. “Now, she has to choose me,” he feels (not an attempt at comedy). Siddhi turns him down (shocking!) and the writer pulls the rug from under us to segue into a serious second half where the film minimises its forced attempts at comedy and focuses on the scam within the Happy Matrimony company.

Did I mention that Gana, in the middle of the night, also caused an accident and left a critically-injured elderly man on the road? And what about the guy who marries Gana’s friend’s sister and goes missing? Don’t bother wondering, for they are just tacky additions for unnecessary pay-offs. Aa Okkati Adakku has a shoddily-written screenplay, and with every following scene, it only goes from dreadful to downright trashy.

If the film succeeds in anything, unintentionally may I say, it is in making you wish you never meet people like the one-dimensional leads, on matrimonial sites… and in life in general.

Aa Okkati Adakku is currently running in theatres

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