Watching Aadi Sai Kumar and Shraddha Srinath’s Jodi is equivalent to traveling on a passenger train that does not touch your destination station, making intermittent halts at unmanned level crossings. If one can imagine how painful that train journey would be, I reckon, you will go through a similar experience if you catch up this romantic family drama that makes a long crawl to take off.
Directed by Viswanath Arigela, the film depicts Aadi Sai Kumar as Kapil, a system administrator, who loathes his father Kamalakar Rao (Naresh) for getting hooked to betting on cricket matches.
He falls for Kanchana Mala (Shraddha Srinath), an old-fashioned French teacher, at first sight, and tries to woo her under different circumstances.
She lives with her grandfather (Gollapudi Maruthi Rao), her aunt and uncle Raju (Shijju), who is prudent in his own way. While one could imagine where the conflict point would lie in the lives of Kapil and Kanchana Mala, it’s hard to understand why the director can’t seem to decide if he is making a romantic entertainer or a family drama, and as a result, he tries to compensate it with excessive melodrama, inconsistent characterisations and some situations that don’t let the actors decide what tone to take.
To an extent, the first half coasts along well, culminating with a twist. But as the second hour kicks in, it becomes clear that he has no idea where to go with the story as the narrative goes off the rails. He resorts to using tired cliches that have been exploited many times before as key conflicts between the lead characters. Much of the time is wasted on some random characters like Avinash and his girlfriend and by the end of the film, you don’t find yourself rooting for any of the lead characters.
The story has got an interesting point, emotional potential and soulful background score to touch a chord with the audience, but Viswanath fails to hold up to it, giving a recycled feel. He couldn’t subtly succeed to drive home the point about how betting severely affects relationships and other aspects of life. What could have been an animated tale about a conventional girl coming to terms with her boyfriend, who is coping with his father’s gambling behaviour, turns out to be an overblown melodrama that goes at a snail’s pace as the story progresses!
Aadi Sai Kumar fits the bill as Kapil, while Shraddha Srinath, who charmed the audience with her performance in Jersey, couldn’t repeat her act in Jodi. Blame it on the director for not giving her a plum role to unleash her potential here. Gollapudi Maruthi Rao breathes life into his character and Naresh lends credibility to his performance.
In the end, Jodi is too long, predictable and continually boring. It’s a film that gives an old feeling of watching a formulaic romantic family drama that’s wearing thin now!