Sincere, But Highly Routine
U/A, 2h 12m
What Is the Film About?
Malli is a band member playing drums and also a saloon guy. He has an elder twin sister Padma, who is a teacher in school. The entire family and the village respect Venkat out of fear due to various personal and caste equations.
What happens when a lower cast Malli falls in love with Venkat’s sister Lakshmi? The movie’s primary story is the repercussions faced by Malli and whether he overcame them.
Suhas again picks a role that is suitable to him to the T. He instantly connects playing the boy next door as well as the guy from a lower societal structure.
The role offers him two shades, one as the lover boy and the other as the aggressive guy seething with revenge. He pulls off both qualities with ease. The anger feels genuine as well as the emotions. The final moments with the heroine during the second half highlight his dramatic skills.
Given the rural and the period setting, Lakshmi suits the part decently. She has that old-world charm and expressions to make the smaller moments in the romance work which is more than enough for the part. There is nothing else for her to shine even though she is part of a few emotional moments.
Sharanya Pradeep, as Padma, gets a powerful role. She does well within her capacity and stands out in a couple of scenes. The one at the station stands out, easily.
Dushyanth Katikaneni directs Ambajipeta Marriage Band. It is a rustic drama set in the early 2000s. The conflict here is the same, social inequalities due to caste and economy, usually seen in flicks like these. The job of engaging becomes tough as content has to rise above the standard template.
Right from the start, the attempt to freshen up the predictable narrative is visible. It is done via the simple love track that tries to hit the nostalgia straight up.
The salon shop and the band play a vital role in bringing the old memories. The songs they play or the conversations that occur remind us of the nineties. The way it goes about the proceedings at times makes one wonder if the story is taking place in the late nineties or the mid-2000s, though.
While the love story shapes up on one front, we have the villain and his track related to the hero’s elder sister on the other end. The villain’s characterisation, a staunch caste fanatic is nothing new, but some dialogues and action make it gripping. It leaves us with a sense that something is set to happen sooner or later.
The whole thing moves predictably to the pre-interval where the expected happens. And its followed by the twin tone-changing events leading to the interval. Nothing entirely unexpected, but it has enough to make one look forward to the second half.
Things post-intermission miss the smoothness of the first half. It was visible in parts in the initial stages, but once the love story took off, the uneven and patchy narrative came together. As there is nothing of that sort in the second half, the problem becomes apparent.
The narrative has a patchy look from the start, and it maintains the same feel throughout. We have a few scenes that work in between, like the two police station sequences (the second one being terrific), and the emotional moments between the lead pair, but nothing else has an impact.
The template proceedings don’t help the cause either as the narrative feels like going through motions without any emotional connections. We see a lot of unjust happening but remain merely a spectator instead of feeling the emotions. The sad part here is the maker’s sincere attempt to create them and fail.
The ending is something unexpected, but it is a little too late in the day. One just looks forward to the end at that point. The big payoff’ (after the initial build-up) that’s supposed to lift the narrative is where the Ambajipeta Marriage Band fumbles in the second half. Be it the villain (and his masterplan), or Padma’s fight against injustice (and its ending), or the brother and sister track, they don’t elevate the proceedings as planned.
In the end, Ambajipeta Marriage Band is a sincere effort with honest performances, but the template story, patchy narrative, and uneven emotions don’t let it rise or reach its potential. It’s a decent attempt, but that’s it.
Performances by Others Actors
The casting of the movie is neat even though not all have significant roles. They fit the part and the world and that serves the purpose. Nithiin Prasanna, playing the antagonist similar to Fahadh Faasil from Maamanam in a way, is decent. His character is well-written and impactful initially and the actor does enough not to spoil it. However, as it progresses, the part fizzles out and so does the act.
Among the rest, Jagadeesh Prathap Bandari registers effortlessly as the hero’s best friend Sanjeev.
Music and Other Departments?
Sekhar Chandra doesn’t do much musically. A couple of songs sound decent, but that’s all about them. The background score has his typical booming and blasting bits that work, but the overall impact is missing.
The cinematography is fine. For a low-budget production, Wajid Baig does well in sticking to the subjects’ strengths and capturing the village feel well. The editing could have been better. The writing hits home the point with a hammer-strong impact whenever necessary.
Couple of Emotionally Charged Scenes
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, In Parts
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, With Reservations
Ambajipeta Marriage Band Movie Review by M9
Ambajipeta Marriage Band doesn’t break new ground; it’s a familiar watch operating within the known. Suhas, along with a limited but fine cast, makes it a one-time watch, but keep expectations in check. Production quality is good.
First Half Report:
Ambajipeta Marriage Band intensifies during the pre-interval episode, while the rest revolves around a familiar and formulaic love track.
— Ambajipeta Marriage Band started with a brief, intense note, transitioning into a love track set against a rural backdrop.Stay tuned for the first half report.
Stay tuned for Ambajipeta Marriage Band review and report from U.S. Premiere.
Suhas is slowly establishing himself as a niche performer, and he is back with Ambajipeta Marriage Band. The teaser and trailer have garnered attention for the film, and now it is up to the director to amplify the talk with his output and make a significant impact.
Cast: Suhas, Shivani Nagaram
Written & Directed By Dushyanth Katikaneni
Producer: Dheeraj Mogilineni
Co Producer : Venkat Reddy
Banners : GA2 Pictures, Dheeraj Mogilineni Entertainment & Mahayana Motion Pictures
Music : Sekhar Chandra
Director Of Photography : Wajid Baig
Editor : Kodati Pavan Kalyan
U.S. Distributor: FlyHigh Cinemas