Ante Sundaraniki: An Entertaining Love Story Across Religions

Romantic comedies are one of the most sought genres in cinema worldwide. They fill you with a certain warmth and make you forgot about the troubles in everyday life. It is a genre which has lost some of its sheen given that you know what will happen at the end. The challenge therefore is what you bring to the table within the familiarity. Vivek Athreya takes a simple story line and peppers it with certain social topics. His non-linear style of narration works big time. The director is also helped by his in form leads Nani and Nazriya.

The film begins with an elongated background of both its lead characters. Sundar comes from a highly conservative Hindu family. You can gauge their nature from the fact that Sundar is not allowed to travel to the US. The reason being that they believe it is a sin to allow a man to cross the sea. This kind of superficial thinking makes Sundar’s growing up years very painful. Naresh plays the father of Nani (Sastri Garu). The mother is played by Rohini. In fact Sastri Garu gets his son a girl’s bike. The reason is he is worried that the horizontal crossbar would make him infertile. Sundar is also subjected to many rituals since his childhood; this makes the astrologer very rich. Like the rest of the family Sundar also comes with his own quirks. For example he stops watching movies for a silly reason. He also has a problem posing for photos.

Nazriya’s Leela on the other also comes from a very conservative family. The only difference is that they pray to a different god; Christ. Both families have a problem of mixing with people from other religious backgrounds. But that doesn’t stop the growing friendship between these two within the premises of the school. Their friendship soon grows into love. But the hitch is that neither have the courage to say it directly. What follows is a web of lies that leads to many complicated situations.

THERE IS A WONDERFUL BALANCE OF COMEDY AND EMOTIONS. THE FILM ALSO MAKES OTHER PERTINENT POINTS ON PREGNANCY AND FERTILITY AMONG OTHER ASPECTS.

A basic perquisite for any romantic comedy is that the lead characters should share a wonderful chemistry. The comfort level between Nani and Nazariya is visible throughout. As audiences you believe that their love would move heaven and earth through their barrage of almost never ending lies.

Vivek Athreya uses humor to address many of our religious biases, the jokes not only land but they make you introspect.

There is a wonderful balance of comedy and emotions. The film also makes other pertinent points on pregnancy and fertility among other aspects.

Out of the comic scenes, my most favorite ones are the interactions between Nani and Harshvardhan. They just bring the house down. Special mention must also be made of the scenes of Sundar and Leela tapping into their inner child whenever they make outlandish plans. It raises many chuckles.

THE ROLE OF SUNDAR IS PRETTY MUCH A CAKEWALK FOR NANI. THE ACTOR IS VERY MUCH IN HIS ELEMENT.

Naresh has the best role among the supporting players. The role of Sastri garu has a very good arc. He starts off as someone who is highly traditional but as we go along we see him slowly and gradually changing. Naresh does a splendid job in bringing out all these nuances. Rohini gets her one big moment in the pre-climax where she questions her husband and mother-in-law. The actress aces this scene.

The role of Sundar is pretty much a cakewalk for Nani. The actor is very much in his element. A special mention must be made of his comic timing which leaves you in splits. Malayalam actress Nazriya makes an impressive Tollywood debut. She fits perfectly into the skin of leela. Her screen presence combined with the performance stays with you.

In a nutshell Ante Sundaraniki is entertaining and emotional. It is a love story across religions without any bloodshed which is rare in these times.

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