Amid controversies surrounding a viral prank video featuring actor Vishwak Sen , his new film Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam (AVAK) hit the theatres on Friday. Bankrolled by B Bapineedu and Sudheer Edara, the film is directed by Vidya Sagar Chinta and written by Ravi Kiran Kola. Rukshar Dhillon and Ritika Nayak co-star as the female leads.
Ashoka Vanamlo Arjuna Kalyanam will be relatable to most middle-class unmarried youths. Arjun Kumar Allam (Vishwak Sen) is a 33-year-old boy-next-door from Suryapet in Telangana. He and his family leave for the Ashokapuram village in Andhra Pradesh for his engagement ceremony with Madhavi (Rukshar Dhillon). But after his engagement, they get stuck at Madhavi’s house due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The situation prompts both Arjun and Madhavi’s families to fix a muhurtham for a low profile wedding during the lockdown. However, Madhavi is in love with someone else. And left with no choice, she elopes. The film traces the twists and turns that Arjun must face next.
This is a slice-of-life drama inspired by the typical thought processes of middle-class Telugu families. The structure and screenplay aren’t complex at all. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, but viewers will be able to empathise with Arjun, who questions his family’s long-held belief systems and confronts caste-based prejudice.
The writer and director talk about caste-based discrimination, female empowerment, and interfaith marriages in the simplest manner. The film’s observations aren’t Earth-shattering, but they are emotionally stirring. The film emphasises on the need for a change in patriarchal belief systems and stresses that every human being is equal irrespective of caste and creed.
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Vishwak Sen has delivered a career-best performance as Arjun Kumar Allam. This movie will surely create a new fanbase in family audiences. Rukshar Dhillon, however, isn’t given much to do. Ritika Nayak as Vasudha (Madhavi’s sister), impresses occasionally. Goparaju Ramana, of Middle-Class Melodies fame, and Kadambari Kiran have done their best in comic roles. On the flip side, despite the film’s entertaining story, it does get slow at times.