Middle Class Melodies movie review: A charming film about love, dreams and togetherness – regional movies

Middle Class Melodies
Director: Vinod Anantoju
Cast: Anand Deverakonda, Varsha Bollamma, Chaitanya Garikipati and Goparaju Ramana

It is tough to recall when was the last time a Telugu film had me smiling from the first scene to the last. Debutant Vinod Anantoju’s Middle Class Melodies, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, is unarguably one of the most charming films to come out of Telugu cinema in recent years. Set in a small town near Guntur, this is a simple, close-to-reality story of love, dreams and togetherness. At a time when most filmmakers dream of making larger-than-life cinema on lavish budgets, here’s a film that turns that notion on its head and proves that when you tell a simple story with all heart and as honestly as possible, it’ll definitely strike a chord with the audience.

Middle Class Melodies follows Raghava (Anand Deverakonda), who works with his parents in their family-run hotel in Kolakalur, a small village near Tenali. Raghava, like every other youngster these days, dreams of a city life and plans on setting up a hotel (because he thinks he makes the best ‘Bombay’ chutney) in Guntur but his father (an unbelievably good Goparaju Ramana) is against the idea. Whether Raghava succeeds in opening a hotel in Guntur forms the crux of the story.

 

But Middle Class Melodies is not just about Raghava and his dream of setting up a hotel. It’s also about some key characters in Kolakalur. It’s about Gopal, who plays Raghava’s friend, and his obsession with horoscopes. It’s about an elderly Anjaiah, the local milkman, and his perseverance to send his granddaughter to college. It’s about Sandhya and her fondness for Raghava, who is her ‘bava’. It’s about Lakshmi and Kamala, two mother characters and their role in the lives of their husbands and children. It’s also about Gautami and how she single handedly supports her family while dealing with her drunkard father. It’s about Nageswara Rao and his mission to get his daughter married into a nice family.

What really makes Middle Class Melodies unique is that it isn’t a story just about the hero. It’s about all the characters who aid the hero (a confident Anand Deverakonda) in his journey to set up a hotel on his own. Instead of keeping the focus only on the hero and his journey, the film gives ample screen space and importance to the supporting characters that make Middle Class Melodies so memorable and highly entertaining. The small town milieu is captured beautifully and as authentically as possible. It’s so close to reality that you feel like you’re sitting with the characters and having a close-to-heart conversation.

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The film takes a light-hearted approach to tell its story and it works in its favour. It has the heart of Venkatesh Maha’s critically-acclaimed C/O Kancharapalem and is another great example of simplistic storytelling weaving magic. Both Anand Deverakonda and Varsha Bollamma are aptly cast and they bring out small town vulnerabilities quite convincingly in their performances. It’s interesting that Anand is charting his own path and not walking in the footsteps of his brother Vijay Deverakonda.

Vinod Anantoju is an exciting addition to the latest crop of new-gen Telugu filmmakers who are quietly making a strong impact.

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