In a world where Sairat, didn’t exist this film would have maybe started some new conversations and received a little more appreciation. Nonetheless, an honest team effort in every department involved to create the world of Dorasani stirs the right emotions in the audience.
Raju (Anand Deverakonda) a lower caste but educated boy finds his interest in Devaki/Dorasani (Shivatmika Rajasekhar) the feudal lord’s daughter. They share their thoughts and feelings through poetry while finding means to keep them alive without anyone finding out. Set in a small village of Telangana in the 1980s, the courtship of these two youngsters is forbidden due to both the caste and class divide. What follows is what anyone can expect. In Dorasani, the conflict is pre-written, and the ending, underwhelming.
Dorasani’s strength is the rural Telangana backdrop that it heavily relies upon. The locations, sets, the dialect which not even one character missteps, the class divide, the innocence of young love, the social commentary flowing in the narrative are the foundations for the film. The downfall is the predicability of it. Unfortunately, that’s all it takes to leave the audience bored. With the setup, research and backdrop loaded with potential, the story could have probed more into the possibilities. Not just with the love story but also the social commentary. That too could have been excused if the love story itself was engaging.
There is a Naxalite angle in the film which only feels like a plot device to make sure the audience don’t forget the class atrocities. It really doesn’t have a payoff. The film itself for the two and a half hour length of it doesn’t pay off satisfactorily as the audience leave the theatre.
Technicalities are what need to be acknowledged in the film. The art design, writing and camera work are a hero for Dorasani. Not once will any person, backdrop or line feel artificial or orchestrated. And the dialogues flowing in easygoing Telangana dialect by all the characters is an added asset to the naturality of it all. The montages written between Raju and Devaki are adorable in all their innocence. Unfortunately, that’s all that you can look forward to.
Shivatmika steals the spotlight. She has barely anything to say or do in the first half besides coy longing. With possibly just two pages of lines given to her, she delivers a performance that needed no lines. Acting with her eyes, she has the innocence of an adolescent and the stance of a princess. Of course, still the novice, her consciousness shows but her potential is evident. The award juries need to watch out for her!
Anand Deverakonda one must admit gave the most earnest and hardworking performance as a debutant in recent times. He isn’t a natural but he doesn’t let that come in the way. His fluent Telangana dialect makes it easier for us to be convinced with Raju. But for a first-timer with no acting background whatsoever, he put up a fair show. Vinay Verma as the dora has a one-toned role and it kind of gets monotonous after a while. Even the character artists – like Raju’s mother and father – despite their insignificant roles put their heart and souls into the film. On the whole, Dorasani despite the effective setup, doesn’t deliver an engaging love story as payback.