Sita Ramam is originally a Telugu film and is now available in multiple languages on OTT. The presence of Dulquer Salman who of late is making some interesting choices in his films was the main hook for me to watch the film. I watched the Tamil version and it reminded me a lot of another Dulquer film – Charlie for various reasons. Charlie was also re-made in Tamil as Maara with Madhavan in the lead.
What was Charlie or Maara? Feel-good films with over-stylized frames, fairy tale romance at their core and charming actors as leads. Sita Ramam follows the same template. Like Charlie, Sita Ramam is all about its picturesque, eye candy frames. The story in both, though in different settings, is a love story where one lover goes in search of the other without knowing much about the other. Therefore, as the screenplay unfolds, one needs a lot of patience in the 1st half to stay engaged with the proceedings.
Sita Ramam is an old-fashioned love story that is set in the 60s but opens in the present times. In a non-linear storytelling format, the narrative switches between the past and the present. The love story involves a soldier in the Indian Army posted on the Indo-Pak border in Kashmir and a girl from Hyderabad for which the spark starts with an exchange of letters. The soldier then goes in search of the girl and what happens then is the rest of the story.
I almost gave up on the film till the interval block. The proceedings till then are slow and clichéd. It is only in the second half that the film picks up pace and as the knots get untied, the screenplay begins to make sense. What keeps you hooked to some extent are the framing of the shots and the amazing cinematography of P.S.Vinod & Shreyaas Krishna. The top-angle shots are just fabulous. Look out for one at the end, for example. It would seem that the priority of the director Hanu Raghavapudi is the look and feel of every frame. The choice of colour palettes, the set design, lighting/focus and the costumes, not to mention the eye candy looks of both the protagonists drive this point throughout the film. You will not be alone if you were reminded of Mani Ratnam’s films when you see the imagery and this is a compliment to the Director and his crew.
Being a romantic film, the film is packed with montage songs. Music by Vishal Chandrasekhar, though reminding of old Ilaiyaraaja melodies is excellent. A charming lover boy role is walking in the park for Dulquer. He executes it with ease. His counterpart Mrunal Thakur looks good and emotes well but strangely maintains the same look for over 20 years! Some of the side characters are poorly written and poorly cast. I don’t know if they were part of the comedy relief trope. If yes, it didn’t work at all. The film suffers from lack of logic at many places.
What it lacks on the content front, Sita Ramam makes it up in its craft. On the big screen, the film would have been a great treat to watch. Yet, the film may test your patience. I would put it in the Okayish category which one can watch if there is nothing else to watch. Suckers of romantic movies may find it to be a delectably sweet film.
It is streaming now on Amazon Prime.
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