While the opening credits roll, we are taken inside a smart phone production line where we get to see visuals of phones getting assembled completely on a “hands-free” basis except at the final packaging stage where we see workers doing the packing. This irony is stark for a product that is destined to be at the mercy of someone’s hand for its functioning. What happens if the hands that operate the phone interchange? And what happens if the interchange of phones takes place between a boy and a girl who are in love? Director and Writer Pradeep Ranganathan stretches this rather wicked idea and its fallout into a screenplay the result of which is this interesting film at the outset.
The idea of putting a smart phone and its interference in lives at the centre of a story may not be totally new. In the Malayalam film 12th man, we saw Director Jeetu Joseph attempting a murder mystery with this theme. But the big difference here is, Pradeep also conveys that romance or love today for the millennials has become a prisoner of what happens between their smart phones through social media apps. Therefore love today is no longer an art of say writing a nice love letter or penning a poem for your beloved but a science of managing your posts and statuses!
In this film – Love Today, the girl’s dad asks the boy and girl to exchange their phones for 24 hours to check if they will survive their mutual privacy intrusion. Pradeep gets this idea going well initially with a lot of reasons to laugh out loud. But once we get the drift of the fall out of the exercise, the film starts meandering and gets to an end that we all know and in fact, expect. The film is extremely watchable as long as it doesn’t take itself too seriously and thrives on comedy. It falters when it gets into a preachy mode in the 2nd half. The use of two other characters to untangle the principal knot finally is so convoluted that you feel a bit let down.
Pradeep himself plays the main lead of the lover boy and manages to work within his limitations which are too obvious to us. The female lead Nikitha played by Ivana whom I suspect makes a debut in this film, is impressive. Yogi Babu who in my opinion does better as a character actor than a comedian is neither in this film. His characterisation is so flawed in the film that he mostly sleepwalks through the role. It is a delight to see Sathyaraj in character roles like in this one where he plays Nikitha’s dad and in a sense the proxy villain. From a thagidu thagidu type villain to this, his evolution and skill of moving with the times are commendable.
Pradeep as a director focuses on the story, screenplay, dialogues, and performances more than the craft quite similar to Bhagyaraj in those days. So, on the making front, there is nothing to write about.
In my opinion, the most interesting feature of this film is how the language of romance in films has changed and this film is a testimony to it. A bit more attention to the scene construction in the middle and retaining the comic nature of the screenplay would have elevated this film to a greater level. Nevertheless, it is an o.k film that you can watch purely for a full time pass. It is streaming now on Netflix.
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