Suni’s directorial ventures have often had a delightful blend of romance, wit, and an innate ability to captivate audiences with his simple narratives. His debut, Simple Agi Ondh Love Story (2013), and Chamak (2017) stand as examples of this and have set a high standard for the filmmaker. Now, with his latest offering, Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe, anticipation among the audience is higher as they are eager to uncover the new tale he has woven for them. This time, joining him is Vinay Rajkumar, an actor known for his penchant for exploring unconventional tracks within the industry.
In Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe, the tale spins around Athishay (Vinay Rajkumar), a budding music director working under the guidance of Sadhu Kokila, striving to make it big in the music world. Amid his pursuit of musical greatness, he yearns for love and seeks a soulmate. Along with his loving extended family— including his aunt, uncle, grandmother, and cousins—resides Anuraga (Swathishta Krishnan), an odd girl in the family nurtured by Athishay’s father since growing up —a backstory shrouded in mystery.
Despite their shared history, Athishay and Anuraga, a journalist by profession, clash incessantly. However, Athishay’s affections seem to settle on Madhura (Mallika Singh), a voice he believes to be the epitome of his desired love, and interestingly he mentors her singing career. However, family pressure drives Athishay and Anuraga into an unwanted union, sparking a series of twists.
As they reluctantly opt for mutual divorce, the narrative navigates through the tumult of their quest for true companionship. The ensuing double climax makes you ponder: Despite having treasures within reach, the longing for love compels a person to search tirelessly for it.
While the title itself hints at a rare love tale portrayed with simplicity, the music plays a significant role, encapsulating the entire storyline, and is indeed different and notable. Athishay, as a music enthusiast with a fervent passion, enriches the narrative with his character’s depth and drive. True to Suni’s style, the director infuses the film with witty dialogue and scenes filled with gentle humor, while portraying the complexities of a love triangle.
However, there are moments where the film falters. Certain sequences surprise the audience, instilling hope that the film has found its rhythm, yet it occasionally loses its tempo. While Vinay’s character receives significant attention and justice, the two female leads, who possess strong characters, deserve more creative exploration. Conveying emotions and expressions effectively throughout the film is a significant challenge, but Suni demonstrates commendable skill in this aspect. Having said that, the narrative could have benefited from more tender and meaningful moments, cutting unnecessarily repeated scenes to enhance emotions.
Contrary to typical hero-centric narratives, Vinay Rajkumar’s character in Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe is an ordinary boy from a middle-class background. This character instantly connects with the audience’s emotions and the screenplay also focuses on the other characters along with the storyline. Even Sadhu Kokila’s departure from his usual comical role to contribute as a music director in the tale brings a fresh perspective to the narrative. Rajesh Nataranga delivers a mature performance as the father figure. Karthik Mahesh and Shwetha Srivatsava, despite their brief appearance, add an element of suspense to the film. However, the grandmother is the soul of the film, and her character adds weight to Vinay’s role and his passion for music.
Music heavily influences the narrative of the film and Veer Samarth has delivered the musical background, filling it with a plethora of songs and varied tunes. While songs like Neenyaarele... and Gunugunugu... are pleasing to the ears, the song Mookanagabeke... has been intelligently used to give a twist to the storyline. The cinematographer has elevated the storytelling with his distinctive frames.
In Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe, love and music intertwine, creating a symphony of emotions that resonate deeply. Despite its occasional missteps, the film leaves a lasting impression, akin to a haunting melody that stays with you. It reminds us that love very much like life is a beautiful mix of highs and lows showcasing the resilience of the human heart.
Ondu Sarala Prema Kathe
Cast: Vinay Rajkumar, Rajesh Nataranga, Swathishta Krishnan, and Mallika Singh