World Famous Lover movie review : Aishwarya Rajesh steals the show, but this Vijay Deverakonda film is a mess
World Famous Lover is like reading a 400-page novel, which has a beautiful section that runs for 100 pages in between.
castVijay Deverakonda, Raashi Khanna, Aishwarya Rajesh, Catherine Tresa, Izabelle Leite
Vijay Deverakonda and Raashi Khanna-starrer World Famous Lover is a film which toys around with the idea of turning one’s life into a book, or maybe it is the other way around, where writing a book teaches you a lot about life.
It oscillates between fantasy and reality, fiction and non-fiction, and a heartwarming portrayal of romance and not understanding anything about it at all. Another way of reading the film is the story arises from a conflict between a woman, who does not understand anything about a writer’s block, and a man, who is oblivious to the emotions of his partner. Or maybe, it is the story of a dreamer, who wants more time to find his soul, but life keeps throwing lemons at him. Or could this be about a man, who is trying to figure out his life through the stories he writes? World Famous Lover has traces of all these elements. The concoction throws you off balance because it just does not know how to build a strong conflict between the two lead characters.
The film follows the lives of Gautham (Deverakonda) and Yamini (Khanna), who are in a live-in relationship. Gautham, we are told, has taken a break from his corporate job to finish writing a book, but Yamini grows restless that he has not delivered on his promises even after a year. She believes he has no focus, is lost in his own world, and is utterly unempathetic to her feelings. When the two spar over these issues, it sets Gautham on a path to discover his voice, and prove to Yamini he is still the same person who she fell in love with.
World Famous Lover is a lot more palatable when you watch it as Gautham’s stream of consciousness since he frequently breaks the fourth wall, and talks to us about his life, his idea of romance, and his belief system. However, it is never clear why he does not share any of this with Yamini. When she tells him that he is not the same person anymore, he refuses to accept her argument, and does not even try to tell her he has already written quite a lot. It is impossible to know what he has written but considering that his first work was a non-fiction book based on economics, we are forced to convince ourselves he is struggling to find his voice in order to write fiction. But that is hardly the crux of the inner conflict Gautham faces.
The truth is he is utterly confused, and has no idea what Yamini tries to tell him. When she breaks down, saying that he has ruined her life, he takes it as a challenge to prove he can write well. This chasm between what she expects from him and what he understands is consistent throughout the film. It hardly gives us scope to empathise with the reality of Gautham and Yamini. Their reality is terribly boring but then Kranthi Madhav, the director and writer of the story, makes up with a beautiful fantasy. That makes it all the more difficult to write off World Famous Lover completely.
In Madhav’s version of fantasy, Gautham turns into Seenayya, a coal-mine worker, who is married to Suvarna (Aishwarya Rajesh). The two barely see each other eye-to-eye but Suvarna loves him unconditionally, even when he starts flirting with an officer (Catherine Tresa) in his company. This segment in World Famous Lover is so beautifully shot and written, apart from terrific performances by both Aishwarya and Deverakonda, it makes you wonder if this is the actual love story which Kranthi Madhav wanted to tell.
There is one scene in particular, where Suvarna finds out about Seenayya’s newfound fascination with a colleague, which breaks her heart. However, when she realises he is still a loving husband who cares for her, her tears evaporate instantly. It is this dazzling chemistry and bittersweet romance between the two actors that make you root for them. Aishwarya steals the thunder, and it is a pity her heartfelt performance is buried in a film which is so confused about what it wants to say. Then there is another version of the fantasy, where Gautham meets a pilot, Iza (Izabelle Leite), in Paris, and their fleeting romance makes you smile. Newcomer Izabelle is well-cast in the role, and she makes a good impression.
The biggest letdown is the writing, especially in terms of how it treats Khanna’s character throughout the film. The actress channelises all her energy and emotions into delivering a heartbreaking performance but the film does not do justice to her. In fact, the entire third act of the film feels so redundant and lazy that one cannot help but feel bad for the actors, who make an earnest attempt to make some sense of their arguments.
Deverakonda finds himself trapped in a film which demands too much from him but his performance is only as good as the writing in the film. He shines the most as a coal mine worker, and is good as a radio station manager in Paris, but as a writer, he struggles to get a grip over what h is trying to drive home.
World Famous Lover is like reading a 400-page novel, which has a beautiful section that runs for 100 pages in between. After reading it, you might want to revisit those 100 pages over and over again because every sentence has soul in it. If only the rest of the film was as beautiful as the love story between Seenayya and Suvarna.
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