C/o Kancharapalem: 4 Love Stories To Warm Your Heart

Posted: August 5, 2019

Running four parallel love stories, C/o Kancharapalem has all the elements to make a heart-warming love story. Here’s a review on why you should go watch this movie!

With movies like Arjun Reddy/ Kabir Singh making you wonder where good filmmaking has gone, there are movies like C/o Kancharapalem that restore your faith in good filmmaking. This is a movie that can make you smile, break your heart and feel yourself fall in love.

The movie chronicles four parallel unconventional love stories of four main characters, set in a small town of Kancharapalem, situated somewhere near Vishakappatthinam.

Spoiler Alert

The four love stories

The oldest of them, 49-year-old Raju works as an office attendant in a Government office. The butt of all jokes in his neighbourhood owing to his unmarried status, Raju’s life takes a turn when he develops an unlikely friendship with the newly transferred middle aged officer, a widow from Orissa with a 20-year-old daughter.

Joseph, a young man from the same village, is an orphan who makes his living as a hit man to a local politician. He decides to transform his ways and take up a job when he falls in love with a short tempered and coarse-mouthed Hindu girl.

The most unconventional love story belongs to another young guy in the village, Gaddam, who works in a liquor shop. He loses his heart to a masked girl, Saleema (played by the NRI producer of the film, Praveena Paruchuri) who comes every evening to buy liquor at his shop. He has not seen her face but falls for her courage to live her life on her terms. His love for her remains unchanged and he decides to marry her even after he finds out that she is a prostitute.

And then, we have a nine-year-old school boy, Sundaram, who prays to Lord Ganesha every morning to secure attention of his class mate, Sunitha. He finally succeeds in his mission when he wears a pink shirt, a colour of her choice, without giving heed to the ridicule of his schoolmates. But his love story is short lived as Sunitha’s extremely conservative father sends her away to a boarding school, after he discovers her singing a filmy love song on stage on Sundaram’s encouragement.

You end up rooting for the love you see

The move is a true slice of life cinema with several light and just as many heart-breaking moments. We end up revelling in the magic that love can bring to the unassuming lives of its characters while rooting for their happy endings.

When their dreams abruptly crash, we are reminded of the brutal cruelty life is capable of.  But these are not tragedies that can be solely blamed on life. These tragedies would not have happened in an ideal society.

Even in an ideal society, love stories sometimes end, but they end with accidents, terminal diseases and irreconcilable differences. They don’t end because a father threatens his spirited daughter with a suicide or with the murder of a woman by religious goons for defaming their religion.

The common thread of religion and patriarchy behind these tragedies is a subtle and interesting insight the movie offers.

The changing gender portrayals

Another interesting facet of the movie is the characterisation of its lead roles, where gender plays a little role in depiction of their personalities. Courage and anger are not confined to men and vulnerability and tenderness to women. Each of the women characters are portrayed as individualistic and strong with their own convictions.

The 42-year-old widow proposes marriage to a man below her station at her work place. When her young daughter has a problem with this move, she counter questions her daughter about her feministic ideals. The daughter herself later undergoes a change of heart and bravely puts forth a fight with her uncle for her mother’s happiness. At the same time, the lead woman in another story picks up a fight with four goons for single handedly beating up a man on the road.

And it all comes together in the end

Last but not the least, the ending of C/o Kancharapalem plays a perfect ode to this beautiful stories, as we see the four love stories merging in the most unexpected manner.

The ending ties all the loose ends and clears whatever gaps there might have been in the viewers minds.

It also offers some philosophical takeaway as to how beliefs and values cannot override experiences and that they change with time.

Apart from the slow yet gripping narrative, what fascinated me most about the C/o Kancharapalem was the acting. The movie doesn’t have a single known face and every actor, playing small and big role live up to the realistic texture of the film. Kudos to director, Venkatesh Maha for this raw and endearing depiction of human lives.

I recently read a report that this movie was disqualified from the national awards as it was produced by an NRI. This is very unfortunate since the movie does more justice in depicting real India than many films produced by Indian producers. The movie is available on Geo TV.

Picture credits: Screenshot from the movie C/o Kancharapalem

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Gnanapriya is a Bangalore based Banker, a passionate feminist with a keen interest in philosophy,

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