Monday, March 8, 2010

Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam, or, It Actually IS All About Loving Your Parents

Like veracious, I found myself instantly reminded of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham by the title of this 2009 Telugu film, which translated means almost the same thing: Sometimes Sweet, Sometimes Sorrow. However, KIKK owes nothing to the former except its title, because unlike that ode to the patriarchal machinations of a dysfunctional family, the southern movie really is all about loving your parents.

Meet Tamanna, who plays Geetha, the heroine. (I know, it's usually spelled Geeta, but that's the way the subtitles had it so I'm just going with that.) She is absolutely adorable. Geetha is also adorable. The movie opens with her telling the story of her bond with her father Subramanyam (played by Nasser), which is quite strong--so strong that she's added his name to her own. Subramanyam is several villages'... headman, I guess? What would you call it? Anyway, he runs the place, and Geetha runs him. When Geetha's high school is finished, he sends her off to Hyderabad for her higher education. At first, she refuses to leave him, but when he appeals to her to set a good example for the rest of the village about schooling girls--leaving the decision up to her--she agrees and heads off to the big city, and her uncle's house.

Meet the worst haircut in the history of styling, as worn by the also-adorable Siddharth, who plays Siddhu. It might seem impossible to ruin the boy's good looks, and in fact it is, but this hairdo and lack of facial hair come as close as they can. It doesn't really matter, though, once you get past the initial shock. Siddhu is a lady's man, and follows the usual pattern of using all the same lines on a succession of stupid girls who fall for his games. Geetha overhears him hitting on another girl in a mall dressing room before they're introduced through her cousin, who is a friend of Siddhu's.

At first, and second and third, glance, Siddhu seems pretty worthless, alternating between hyperactive buoyancy and stylized seduction. Geetha doesn't want to give him the time of day, but her cousin and other friends keep insisting that Siddhu's not as bad as she thinks. Eventually, he proves them right, and the two become friends, and then things follow the usual pattern...

Right down to the expected objection on the part of her father. You see, Siddhu's parents (played by Prakash Dad Raj and Ramya Krishna) are divorced--or separated, I couldn't tell-- which is still a pretty bad thing where he lives. The proverb he cites goes something like, you have to know the preceding seven generations of a family to know where it's going, and so he's worried that Siddhu won't be able to hold a marriage together.

Siddhu and Geetha persist, however, and so her father sets them an impossible task: reunite Siddhu's parents.

And that takes us a little past Interval, so I'd better stop there.

I love this movie. I re-watched it to prepare for this post, since it'd been six months since my first viewing, and I fell in love with it all over again. I'd watch Siddharth read the Yellow Pages, which is a good thing since he's basically phoning it in, but having him on the line beats a face-to-face with plenty of other actors. Siddhu is difficult to like in the first 20 minutes we see him, but the viewer warms to him along with Geetha until he's as irresistible as ever.

Tamanna is, as I said, adorable, and it's nice to have a story primarily told from the heroine's point of view. Geetha's strong, but she's not rebellious or "spunky," and her love for her father is only equaled by her love for Siddhu.

I could have done without her mother's traditional subservience and father's "hush, woman!" relationship with her, but at least Geetha broke that mold. Siddhu's parents' relationship was much better drawn, with a lot more depth. This is the second Indian film I've seen, I think, where a protagonist's parents are separated, and in both of them there seems to be very little real reason for it (like, "he cheated on me chronically and I got sick of it," would be a good reason, "he was never home" might not be). It seems odd.

And then there's the comedy track, which involves a cricket fanatic who's also Geetha's uncle, played by my Least Favorite Brahmanandam, as well as a secondary comedy track with Siddhu's best friend trying to get lucky with some unfortunate woman. I kept the fast-forward button handy for those moments. The friendships between Geetha, Siddhu, and their gang were well done, although of course they all disappear in the second half.

The production values are great. The colors are beautiful. The soundtrack's a perfect Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy mix. All in all, there's very little not to like, and plenty to love. If you're looking for a sweet romantic comedy, Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam is worth every penny.

Edited to add: This is my 100th post! I'd like to thank the cast and crew, my wonderful family, and all those whose backs I stepped on ruthlessly to attain this fantastic moment. Why are you guys playing music already? I'm not done yet!


  1. Wait, someone cheating on you chronically isn't a reason to get divorced? It sure is in my (never married) book.

    Anyway. EXCELLENT use of phone book analogy! :) His hair does indeed look awful. I love the idea of a good romantic comedy told from the heroine's perspective! I'll try to keep an eye out for this one.

  2. Darn it, I knew I was gonna have to edit that sentence and lazed out. :-p I fixed it now to make it more clear, and heck yes, cheating is definitely grounds for kicking ass and divorcing in my very married book. ;-D If you get a chance to see it, do; I really don't think you'll regret it.

  3. Congratulations! What a beautiful movie for your 100th post. I absolutely adore this soundtrack & everything else about this movie.

  4. Congrats on the 100th post :)

    I liked the film OK, I remember being disappointed the parents got back together in the end,it would be novel if we could have parents that separated for whatever reason and life moved on... still a nice movie and lovely Soundtrack.

    Tamannah is adorable and very natural.

  5. Kiran: Thank you, and I agree, it is beautiful. :-) I loved seeing more of India, the windmill farm was particularly picturesque!

    filmizest: Thank you! In Hum Tum I felt the reunification was too pat, but in this case I felt like we could see them moving towards each other in a more convincing way. The soundtrack really is cute, especially Abacha, and Enduku Chentaki is beautiful.

  6. I should rewatch this since I liked it but wasn't like omg about it at all. I remember liking Tamanna more than I liked Siddharth, which was strange and rarely happens with his movies. Maybe it was just the hair. Oh shallowness. :(

  7. veracious: Well, like I said, he really was phoning it in (which, who can blame him? He's played the same role how many times now?) so as someone who's seen all his films I'm sure you've seen it far more than I. For me, that wasn't an issue, but I doubt it's because I have more depth as a viewer. ;-)

  8. So did this film beat KJo at his own game? Do these characters love their parents more than KJo's SRK does? ;-)

  9. Congratulations on your 100th post, i'm yet to discover the wonders of the telugu film industry, luckily for me, my local library now have a huge collection, i shall be writing up the ones i see sometime in the next few months

  10. Just a correction: Konchem Istam, Konchem Kashtam literally translates to "A little liking, A Little difficulty" referring to how couples fight I think.

  11. I watched KIKK last summer, hated Siddhu's hair (bring the Rang De Basanti hair back o Siddharth can u hear me? Arre suniye toh Siddhuuu!!)
    I liked Tamanna who if I may observe, does a really good job with a language she doesn't speak. She didn't look dubbed, which many actresses in the Telugu industry do. She is talented. Did u know her debut was a hindi movie she acted in when she was only 13?Only 13!! Check out the clips on youtube :please do. The movie is called Chand Sa Roshan Chehra! How come I didn't look like that when I was 13?
    Loved the songs... 'aanandama' where they realise they love eachother is awesome.'Andasiddanga' with the pirates or whatever was real fun and Siddharth's dancing is always a pleasure to watch.
    And I thought her mother was dead in the movie.You mean she had a maa? Wow that takes submissive to a whole new level!
    And yeah I hear u about the divorce: sorry, not a good reason for would have been more challenging if one of them had a psychiatric illness or he was violent or an abuser...and the message i think should have been that divorce happens... people don't get back together.. kids shouldn't be judged by this and I guess I wanted Siddhu's parents to get back together but it would have been cooler if the Dad accepted Siddhu without putting him in that impossible situation .
    And a final word : wah wah Ajnabi didi kya dedication hai!100 posts! Mubarak ho yaar...Must be proud na?

  12. Anonymous: Thanks for the correction! I was checking with an online dictionary that's pretty old, so I guess some of the definitions are somewhat offbase.

    Pardesi! I had no idea she was dubbed, which I definitely could tell with Trisha so I am full of admiration for her. And OMG, *so* agree about the RDB haircut. So. Much. I'll be sure to check out Chand Sa Roshan Chehra. I *thought* she had a maa... played by Sudha I thought? I wonder if the reason they chose such a paltry reason for the divorce was because they wanted to let it seem like if they'd tried harder, it would have worked... but I would've liked to have seen someone work real change in their life and then be a more suitable life partner, yk? And thanks for the congratulations!!!

  13. I'm skipping reading this because I just got it. I'll making a Sid week soon :) Will come back and post my thoughts :)

  14. Can't wait to hear what you think, Nicki. :-)

  15. Huh. This moderation thing is making me look like I don't care about my commenters! bollyviewer, yes, it definitely beats KJo at his own game; it's far more heartfelt than any of his films save KKHH. :-) And bollywooddeewana, I can't wait to see what you have to say about Telugu films! That's really cool about your library having a selection; I wish my small town's library had the money and desire for such a thing.


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