ABCD movie review: Biggest undoing of Allu Sirish's comedy is its disconnect from contemporary times
ABCD, starring Allu Sirish and Rukshar Dhillon, is the Telugu remake of a 2013 Malayalam film of the same name, starring Dulquer Salmaan
Some ideas are meant to be immortal, and some make you so restless that you can’t wait to share them with the world. Talking about the power of an idea, there’s an iconic quote in V for Vendetta which goes, “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” But then, are all ideas bulletproof? No. Some lose their relevance with time. Some vanish without a trace even without Thanos having to snap his fingers. And some end up becoming films like ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) which leave you wondering if ideas have an expiry date too, because this is a film which is at least 10-15 years past its due date. And when you look at it now, there’s a sense of indifference in the core idea itself and no matter how it unfolds, it just doesn’t suck you into its world.
ABCD, starring Allu Sirish and Rukshar Dhillon, is the Telugu remake of a 2013 Malayalam film of the same name, starring Dulquer Salmaan. Directed by Sanjeev Reddy, the film follows the lives of two New York-based youngsters, Aravind (Allu Sirish) and Bhaasha (Bharath), who are forced to return to India by Aravind’s father. He wants them to learn the value of money and so, as soon as they land in India, he blocks all their credits cards and asks them to live on a pocket money of Rs 5000 every month. The rest of the story is about how Aravind realises the value of money and how India changes him as a person within a short period of time.
The idea behind ABCD, about a young guy who undergoes a major transformation when he’s forced to change his lifestyle, does seem to have a lot of potential. Director Sanjeev also digs into another burning topic, the bare minimum wage required to live a basic life, to narrate the story. However, the film’s biggest undoing is its disconnect from contemporary times. Additionally, the whole idea of stereotyping ABCDs seems utterly pointless. It’s 2019. Maybe, the current lot of American Born Confused Desis do know more about India than Aravind and Bhaasha. In a way, the two characters themselves are products of a bygone era where the gap between the two cultures was too wide to bridge. On top of that, the film is too bland, and many a times, you struggle to keep up with the banality of the narrative.
Allu Sirish and Bharath make an odd-pair and it’s hard to root for their camaraderie. And the lack of emotional connection with the characters makes it hard to root for their journey. A lot happens in this comedy film - Aravind struggles to adjust in India, falls in love, fights for the poor, becomes a role model for the youth. Yet, the arc of his characterisation is barely inspiring. Rukshar Dhillon has a good screen presence, although she doesn’t get much to work with. Raja makes a good impression as an aspiring politician; however, his role doesn’t get a proper closure.
By the time ABCD ends, there’s a sense of relief - at least it didn’t turn out to be an unbearable film. It’s predictable, devoid of any strong emotional moments, and the sloppy writing makes it a boring watch. Go watch Angrez. It released way back in 2005 and still packs a punch.
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