There is little to peruse in Vivaha Bhojanambu. The Ram Abbaraju-directorial follows a newly-wed man’s drudgery and attempts to evict his in-laws’ family when they are confined in his modest house during the first nationwide lockdown in March, 2020. The problem with the film starts when we too feel constricted just like these characters in this over-long comedy that runs for two temper-testing and exasperating hours.
Like the relatives, the film overstays its welcome, spiralling through a shtick while characters, or should I say, caricatures, aimlessly plod from one banal sequence to another. The writing is not completely devoid of effort though; attempts to invoke humour are evident but they stop seeing fruition at a nascent level, say, around the half-hour mark, right after it lays the foundation for a mad-cap family comedy.
The film has a great premise with all the toppings needed to churn out a contained, quirky comedy: When Anitha (Aarjavee, who has quite a hard time lip-syncing) announces her intention to get married to her love interest Mahesh (an adequate Sathya), to her affluent family and the news is immediately met with petty condescension.
Anitha’s father Rama Krishna (Srikanth Iyengar, the film’s strongest link), and her family are quick to express disdain for Mahesh’s appearance and this disparaging gaze only deepens after they visit Mahesh’s house. I wondered whether it is Rama Krishna, who is leering down upon Mahesh’s countenance and financial background or is it the film’s writing itself. The boundaries between the two remain blurred for almost the entire runtime, before, of course, Rama Krishna changes his heart in the climax.
The funky characters could have instigated a laughter riot with the right amount of wit, which the script lacks at a rudimentary level. Take, for instance, a comedy like Ek Mini Katha which is also replete with caricaturish characters in a similar setting. However, it worked for me on the back of its heightened silliness. Vivaha Bojanambu too is equally silly, and I don’t mean it in a slighting way. In fact, I enjoyed the film’s first act for this precise silliness; it does a good job at introducing us to these peculiar people, but after a point, the film runs out of tricks and finds itself in a slump of monotonous gags — the majority of the puns involve Rama Krishna insulting Mahesh’s economic background.
Towards the end, there are well-intended attempts to make it a ‘deep’ story, with a reveal that doesn’t add any value, but the pit it dug until then with repetitious sketches is deeper. Vivaha Bhojanambu has good intentions, which get lost under the tedium of unfunny gags. Overall, it’s a wasted opportunity.
Cast: Sundeep Kishan, Satya, Aarjavee, Sudharsan, Srikanth Iyengar
Streaming on SONY Liv