U/A, 2h 45m
What Is the Film About?
Viplav (Vijay Deverakonda) accidentally meets Aradhya (Samantha) on a work trip to Kashmir. He instantly falls in love with her. After lots of wooing, Viplav manages to win her. But, it is the beginning of the problem rather than an end.
What are the issues posed by the respective families of Viplav and Aradhya? What happens when they decide to stay alone and how the family eventually comes around form the overall plot.
Vijay Devarakonda returns to the boy next door role after a huge mass outing in his last attempt. The long gap makes it refreshing to watch the actor on screen. He looks fabulous in simple and formal dresses. An instant likeability factor works with him around. The dialogues, too, are kept natural, avoiding cinematicness.
Samantha stays calm mostly until the beginning of the interval block. It is primarily due to the characterisation. The real drama begins post-intermission, where she has much of the work to do. She is fine, as one expects.
Individually, Vijay Deverakonda and Samantha do well and shine. They also look well together as a pair, but the writing lacks the meat to turn them into something more, something magical.
Shiva Nirvana of Ninnu Kori, Majili and Tuck Jagadish fame directs Kushi. If one has seen those films, what is in store from Kushi will be clear. His stories have clear past influences, and he tries to present them contemporarily with more drama.
As expected, Kushi follows a predictable path from the start. The story quickly moves to Kashmir, commencing the love track. It is a lengthy one with a couple of songs to boot.
For any romantic track to click, the chemistry between the lead pair, the music and the memorable moments are essential. The ‘lead pair’ is not a significant issue here, as does the music as songs work. It is the writing and ‘moments’ between the pair where Kushi falters. The magic is missing.
The fact that one feels the romantic track is lengthy is self-explanatory. After a point, it feels stretched unnecessarily. As we already know the outcome and there is a different problem and story ahead, the extra focus on the love track in Kashmir feels tiring.
One then assumes things would move briskly, revealing the conflict point and reaching the interval point after the lead pair return to their destination and meet their parents. While the clash of the ideologies ‘conflict’ does arrive, the stretched narrative again comes to the fore. The whole interval segment ‘after’ the pre-interval block makes one a little restless and look for the watch.
One might get the feel of watching an entire film by the time the interval arrives. It is that lengthy. The predictability in the proceedings adds to the impact further. Still, the breeziness, music, and some fun moments make it a passable affair and keep the hopes alive for the proceeding post-intermission.
The ideological clash of the families is the central conflict of the movie. However, the pair goes about their issues, akin to Shiva Nirvana’s previous works, putting aside the ‘conflict’.
The narrative then proceeds to add comedy and some additional subplots. They only add to the length, which is already an issue. What we have additionally in the second half is the pacing problem. It slackens big time. A couple of blocks feel like they are going on and on.
Kushi follows Shiva Nirvana’s template seen earlier in Ninnu Kori and Majini. A fun-filled first half and a mix of fun and emotion in the second half with the coming-of-age angle towards the end is the format. Only here, the external factors are crucial in deciding a married couple’s fate, and they ‘come of age’.
Eventually, after the detours, the narrative returns to the core conflict by the climax, thereby aligning with the formula. The family-related egos and differences of viewpoints are dealt with here. The whole thing is executed decently, but the way the narrative reaches that point fails to take it to the next level.
Overall, Kushi is a typical Shiva Nirvana potboiler love story. The length and slow pace make it tiresome, but intermittent fun and emotional climax work in its favour making it a one time watch.
Performances by Others Actors
Apart from the lead pair, Vennela Kishore appears prominently in the first half. He is okay playing the funny sidekick while the romantic track continues. Rahul Ramakrishna essays a similar part in the second half. Both have bits and pieces that work among the ordinariness.
Murali Sharma, Sachin Khedekar, Jayaram and Rohini share the major drama as supporting artists. They are adequate in the roles given to them. We have seen them do similar parts, but they continue to make things work. The rest of the cast, which includes Srikanth Iyengar, etc., are okay.
Music and Other Departments?
Hesham Abdul Wahab makes his Telugu film debut with Kushi. He does a reasonably decent job with the music. The songs are pleasant to listen to, and a few look the same on the big screen as well.
G Murali’s cinematography is superb. It lifts the film, especially in the first half, where Kashmir is the background. The second half doesn’t have a similar impact, as it’s mostly indoors or in busy locations, but it is still alright. Prawin Pudi’s editing could have been better. Kushi could have done much better with more diligent trimming. It feels lengthy in its current form. The writing is decent, even if nothing is remarkable. The production values are grand as the movie bears a rich look.
Couple Of Songs
Pace Issues In The Second Half
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Yes but with reservations
Kushi 2023 Movie Review by M9
Kushi’s second half contains the real drama. The comedy works in parts, but the pace slackens, leaving the emotions to do the heavy lifting. It doesn’t work as effectively and limps its way to a decent Climax. Vijay and Samantha rise above the content, working on strengths and shine.
First Half Report:
The first half of Kushi is set in Kashmir and unfolds at its own pace. Vijay takes on a likable role, devoid of the usual heroics. Interval shift holds importance, carrying significance into the second half.
— Kushi show started, Viplav Deverakonda heads to Kashmir for work.
Stay tuned for Kushi Review, USA Premiere report.
Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Jayaram, Sachin Khedakar, Murali Sharma, Lakshmi, Ali, Rohini, Vennela Kishore, Rahul Ramakrishna, Srikanth Iyengar and Saranya Pradeep
Directed and Written by: Shiva Nirvana
Cinematography: Murali G.
Editor: Prawin Pudi
Music: Hesham Abdul Wahab
Producers: Naveen Yerneni, Ravi Shankar Yelamanchili
Production Banner: Mythri Movie Makers
Kushi stands as director Shiva Nirvana’s fourth directorial effort. The film introduces Malayalam music director Hesham Abdul Wahab, who contributed the music, enhancing the pre-release hype and establishing a positive atmosphere. Kushi brings together the unique lead cast pairing of Samantha and Vijay Devarakonda.