Chaavu Kaburu Challaga review: Kartikeya Gummakonda’s film makes for an engaging watch

Chaavu Kaburu Challaga review: The film is ostensibly about Basthi Balaraju’s (Kartikeya Gummakonda) love for Mallika (Lavanya Tripathi), but dig deeper, and you will find the soul of the film.

Chaavu Kaburu Challaga cast: Kartikeya, Lavanya Tripathi, Aamani
Chaavu Kaburu Challaga director: Koushik Pegallapati

Trying to encapsulate the essence of philosophy in a film is a tricky business — try too hard and you can make it heavy-handed, and a flimsy attempt can derail the film. Chaavu Kaburu Challaga director Koushik Pegallapati finds just the right balance, mostly, which makes his film an engaging watch.

The film with Kartikeya and Lavanya Tripathi in the lead roles hits theatres today. On the surface, it is about Basthi Balaraju (Kartikeya Gummakonda) and how his life intertwines with Mallika (Lavanya Tripathi). However, this is what plays out on the surface. If you probe deeper, you will encounter the true soul of the movie.

Balaraju, a hearse driver, falls in love with Mallika when he goes to pick up her husband Peter’s dead body for the final rites. The premise might seem bizarre, but from Balaraju’s point of view, it appears as a divine act without any bias.

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Mallika’s world is starkly different from Balaraju’s. She works as a nurse in a maternity ward of a government hospital. She values the joy of birth and acknowledges the cost of death. By placing the leads in such different professions, the film’s director questions the ways we choose to look at life and death. He tries connecting the two extremes using love as the great leveller.

The movie boasts of some memorable dialogues. They are simple, reflecting the vision of the director.

Apart from the lead pair, what comes as a surprise for the audience is Aamani’s character. She plays Basthi Balaraju’s mother. She is a street vendor, and her husband is bedridden. Aamani’s character has a love track which is a crucial focal point in the narrative. Despite witnessing her husband’s health condition worsen over the years, she never leaves her family. However, after a few emotional confrontations with his mother, Balaraju realises the truth behind his mother’s life and makes amends.

There are many similarities between the characters essayed by Lavanya and Aamani: both are prevented by societal norms to be happy and lead a more fulfilling life. Through them, the director questions the rigidity of such rules and their validity in today’s day and age.

In spite of these, the film fails to translate the emotions convincingly. Music by Jakes Bejoy fails to impress, save one song.

On the acting front, Kartikeya wins applauds for his depiction of Basthi Balaraju. Lavanya Tripathi exhibits good screen presence, but it is Aamani’s character and her performance in the film that comes as a great surprise.

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