Anni Manchi Sakunamule: A Well-Made Entertainer In Typical Nandini Reddy Style

Anni Manchi Sakunamule isn’t high on the story but the director is successful in creating heartwarming moments.

Anni Manchi Sakunamule (Telugu)
  • Cast: Santosh Sobhan, Malvika Nair, Rajendra Prasad, Rao Ramesh, and Naresh
  • Director: B.V Nandini Reddy
  • Producer: Priyanka Dutt
  • Music: Mickey J Meyer
  • Runtime:: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Director Nandini Reddy has emerged as a strong filmmaker with films like Ala Modalaindi (2011), Kalyana Vaibhogame (2016) and her last Oh Baby (2019). An key quality of her films is the entertainment factor. More than the plot, the viewers remember Ala Modalaindi and others because of the director’s treatment.

Her latest Anni Manchi Sakunamule perfectly falls into this category. Though it is a familiar tale of two families who are stuck in a land dispute, what makes the movie rise above the template is how she deviates from the typical tropes that we associate with films of this kind.

Synopsis

The story of Anni Manchi Sakunamule is set in the fictional hillside town of Victoriapuram. There are two families in a legal battle over the ownership of a coffee estate for decades (there is a hilarious origin story to the dispute).

In the present day, there is Sudhakar (VK Naresh), who is modest and likeable, and Prasad (Rajendra Prasad), who is wealthy and money-minded.

On one rainy night, their respective wives are rushed to a hospital for delivery. Here a baby-swapping happens because of an alcoholic doctor Jagadamba (Urvasi), and negligent staff.

This part is reminiscent of the Trivikram blockbuster Ala Vaikuntapuramlo (2020), but thankfully, here you don’t have any jealous employee scheming against his boss.

The leads

Coming back to the story, while Rishi (Santosh Sobhan) is raised by Prasad, Aarya ( Malavika Nair) is brought up by Sudhakar.

Both Rishi and Aarya become high school buddies despite the family dispute. They have contrasting personalities. While Aarya is more ambitious and hard-working, Rishi is more laid back, and his interests lie in cooking, travelling, etc.

Rishi loves Aarya since childhood, but he doesn’t express it as he feels Aarya deserves a better person than him.

Talking about the leads, both Santosh Sobhan and Malavika Nair are in good form, particularly Malavika. She does a splendid job of showcasing the ambitious nature of Aarya. She is successful in portraying both inner strength and also vulnerability.

The rest of the story deals with how the family dispute is solved and whether Rishi will express his love for Aarya. And very importantly, do the families come to know about the swapping of babies and what impact that has on them?

Nandini Reddy’s strengths

The thing which strikes you most about Anni Manchi Sakunamule is how Nandini Reddy has subverted some of the tropes that we associate with this genre. The best example of this is the equation between Rishi and Aarya.

Though there is a generational trauma that both the families carry, that doesn’t stop Rishi and Aarya from becoming friends. Yes, there are moments when the duo are at odds with each other but in general, these moments have nothing to do with their families.

Nandini Reddy does a good job of exploring their relationship
which takes several turns through the film. Rishi and Sudhakar are also cricket buddies who play matches together. There is warmth in the scenes featuring them. Likewise, Prasad also has respect for Aarya’s street-smart nature. At one point he even expresses a wish to adopt Aarya.

Strong female lead

Another striking feature of Anni Manchi Sakunamule is how Nandini Reddy has written the character of Aarya. Malavika Nair’s Aarya is someone who runs the household’s financés with an iron grip. She is also the primary breadwinner. Her scenes with Naresh are a delight to watch. There is also Rishi’s firebrand grandmother (Sowcar Janaki); her feistiness brings a smile to the audience’s face.

Supporting actors

The film has a huge motley of supporting actors, but unlike the big-ticket ventures, here most of them have solid arcs. The best of the lot is Rajendra Prasad and Gautami. Rajendra Prasad has a tricky part, given the money-mindedness of Prasad and also his dissatisfaction with his son, but the senior actor manages to make sure that his role doesn’t become a caricature.

Gautami as the benign mother is a pleasure to watch. There are recurring gags of Gautami’s hearing disability, but at no point does Nandini Reddy use it for crude humour.

Vennela Kishore also brings in many laughs as the annoyingly pleasing son-in-law. Vasuki who plays his wife, makes a comeback after decades but there is nothing significant about her character.

The flaws

Despite its many positives, Anni Manchi Sakunamule also got its share of lags.

For example, there is an unnecessary love
triangle that doesn’t add anything to the story.

There is also a debate where the characters argue about the cuisines of Andhra and Telangana. This is staged in a rather clumsy manner.

Technical aspects

Micky J Meyer’s music is melodious and adds to the proceedings. Sunny Kurapati and Richard Prasad’s camerawork bring alive the beauty of Coonoor.

Final verdict

It is a good entertainer particularly if you enjoy a slice of life dramas and also if you are an admirer of Nandini Reddy’s kind of films.

(Views expressed are personal.)

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