Sekhar Kammula is a gutsy character. Due to some unavoidable circumstances (read Chiranjeevi's sons's movie release) he could not release his movie as planned in India. But he knew that the theatres in the US would not be able to afford a similar delay and went ahead and released his movie there. It required courage as any negative feedback from there would adversely affect the prospects of the movie here. It does seem like his confidence is paying off...Happy Days opened to a fab response abroad and the opening in India that I witnessed today was no less. Here is a director whose name is enough to pull the crowds enmasse to the theatres - a feat that a RamGopal Verma would have difficulty matching these days.
I saw Happy Days today, buoyed by all the expectations. One of my friends has acted in the movie - the curly haired Sravanthi was played by Sonia - an ex-colleague and a friend. Thanks to one of our mutual friends, we were able to get tickets to the first day first show. Firstly, the scene outside the theater was fantastic...you could only see youngsters - college goers mainly, today being a holiday, they made the most of it. Infact, I felt a little old standing there! The movie was great stuff from Sekhar once again. Agreed, the movie takes its own time to make its point, agreed the pace is still leisurely, nevertheless the young director makes sure that he packs in enough entertainment in the first half and some strong emotional punch in the second half. He takes some of the tricks too far, but he is not making a documentary afterall. The music seemed kinda slow when I heard it, but on the screen, the songs meshed beautifully with the theme, not speed breakers, but infact lovely additions that will stay with you for some time to come.
Then comes Sekhar's trump card, his cast. His decision to cast newcomers pays off spectacularly well. No one is a hero and you dont expect them to do anything great. This helps as almost all of them are in trouble constantly in the movie and they come out of it like we do, not like superheroes do. Tyson is an endearing character and his love story with Sravanthi is one of the best tracks. Even when it ends and Sravanthi is leaving his house, there is a fleeting shot wherein she notices that he has a load of chickens all of which look like the one she has. The Appu-Rajesh track was also endearing inspite of its many KKHH inspirations. The Sangeeta-Shankar track really came across as half baked, but after seeing so many multi-track movies fail so spectacularly this year, I thought it was better off this way. Trying to give equal importance to each track invariably ends up prolonging the runtime of the movie and this was really a track that was there to strengthen Tyson and Shankar's friendship, not to show us Shankar's love story. Chandu and Madhu, the main leads, per se were good (strictly good).
Simply put, the movie was slow paced, it had its share of cinematic liberties and it really had no strong storyline, but at the end of it all, if you come out of the theater with moist eyes and a smile on your lips, you have had your money's worth. That is what Happy Days does to you! Go watch it!