'Love Today', presented in Telugu by Dil Raju, hit the cinemas today (November 25).
Pradeep (Pradeep Ranganathan) and Nikita (Ivana) are deeply in love and they think they know each other perfectly well. But there comes a day when they will have a rude awakening. Nikita’s father Venu Sastry (Satyaraj) makes them exchange their cell phones. Why? To see it for themselves if they know each other completely. After all, the smartphone holds a lot of secrets of an individual, the father thinks.
What happens in the aftermath is a no-holds-barred barrage of shocking discoveries, with both Pradeep and Nikita realizing that they both have problematic aspects in their respective lives.
The film is the Telugu-dubbed version of a Kollywood blockbuster by the same name. Released in Tamil a couple of weeks ago, the film has spawned debates around its pro-male narrative. Leaving the criticisms by feminists aside, 'Love Today' is enjoyable even if some of the jokes are too bland.
The premise has been described as quirky and idiosyncratic. It's because of the staging and the treatment. Otherwise, the idea of exchanging smartphones between two soulmates is not crazy at all. If you think of it, it can be a sign of their maturity levels.
The first half is all about humour and gags. There is no trace of serious drama until the interval block when Pradeep's elder sister Divya, who is getting married in a couple of days, grows increasingly jittery about her groom's character. The groom is played by Yogi Babu, who has a touching scene that really speaks to those who derive pleasure by mocking others.
As it is, the film comes into its own every time it speaks to people's natures in the context of modern-day relationships. Critics have complained that 'Love Today' becomes preachy in the second half, especially when the characters played by Radhika Sarathkumar (as Pradeep's mother, she is superb) and Satyaraj are around. That would be missing the wood for the trees. At the end of the day, 'Love Today' is telling a story borrowed from Indian men, Indian women, Indian parents, and Indian friends. The involvement of the parents, the emotional turns, and the teary scenes make it a complete film.
Of late, Telugu cinema has forgotten to tell youthful stories that are clued into the psychology of the Instagram generation. Someone like Maruthi needs to write a script that is raw and unfiltered so that we have another 'Ee Rojullo' and a better version of 'Bus Stop'. 'Love Today' should inspire Tollywood.
This film also benefits from Ivana's girl-next-door vibes. Pradeep Ranganathan acts just like Dhanush; after a point, his performance puts you off in the first half. He is much better in the second half though. Yuvan Shankar Raja's background music is able.
The Tamil-language blockbuster 'Love Today' makes for a good time-pass watch.