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Kushi movie review: Vijay Deverakonda, Samantha Ruth Prabhu shine in an otherwise middling affair

Actors Vijay Deverakonda, Samantha Ruth Prabhu and director Shiva Nirvana have joined forces for Kushi after their respective failures – Liger, Shaakuntalam and Tuck Jagadish. So, the result of Kushi will have huge ramifications for all three. If Vijay has to continue dreaming of being a pan-India star, Kushi has to succeed and wipe away the disastrous memory of Liger. If Samantha continues to hope for a bigger role in Bollywood and perhaps a shot at Hollywood, this film has to consolidate her presence as she failed to do it in an individual capacity with Shaakuntalam. Shiva too cannot have another meek outing like Tuck Jagadish.

Production house Mythri Movie Makers has gone all out to produce and promote Kushi on a big scale. The music and trailer have raised interest levels in the project. A family-oriented drama with beautiful visuals, Kushi has all the ingredients to be successful at the box office. Let’s see how it fares.

Viplav (Vijay Deverakonda) is the son of famous atheist Lenin Sathyam (Sachin Khedekar). He joins BSNL as an engineer and willingly takes the posting in Kashmir as he wants to experience life, travel etc. He meets Aara (Samantha) there, who says she is a Muslim from Pakistan searching for her missing younger brother. Aara is not a Muslim actually, but is acting like one along with her friend (Sharanya Pradeep) to avoid some situation. Viplav falls in love with her immediately and is seen desperately trying to win her over by doing everything she asks. As Viplav continues to believe Aara is a Muslim, she plays along, not revealing that she is a software employee visiting Kashmir on a company trip.

When Aara and her friend leave Kashmir, she reveals that she is a Brahmin from Kakinada, and the daughter of famous spiritual preacher Chadarangam Shrinivas (Murali Sharma). Though this comes as a shocker to Viplav, he is happy to know that Aara, who is actually Aaradhya, is also in love with him. They decide to convince their families to accept their love and give the blessings for their marriage.

After some initial cordial discussions between the families, Chadarangam checks the couple’s horoscope and predicts that theirs would be a union filled with problems and any peace, happiness could only be possible after a homam is performed with both Viplav and his father partaking in the rituals. Lenin Sathyam rules it out, and this becomes a roadblock in their marriage. Viplav and Aaradhya decide to go ahead and marry without their blessings and prove that they can be the best couple ever.

Can the new couple prove famous astrologist and preacher Chadarangam wrong? Will they have a marriage sans any difficulties or problems? What role do Viplav’s mentors Zoya (Rohini) and Thomas (Jayaram) play in this drama forms the rest of the story.

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The film begins well with Viplav’s decision to choose Kashmir for his job location. Vennela Kishore’s character adds some fun to the proceedings. The first two songs are picturised well and add to the romantic mood. The film takes an interesting turn with Samantha’s identity getting revealed and the possibility of a clash between tradition and modernity, and faith and reason coming up.

The clash is soon set aside for the world of the newlyweds. It works for the most part. Vijay Deverakonda and Samantha Ruth Prabhu look great together and set new goals for on-screen romance. But as the paradise is disturbed by societal expectations in the form of motherhood, etc., the film slowly turns routine and loses focus.

The writing from this stage is mostly unilateral and from the male point of view. The fights between the couple feel staged and insignificant. The episode with Rohini and Jayaram runs without adding much thematically. After the couple’s separation, the story entirely runs from Vijay’s perspective. Samantha almost disappears from the story, and we search for her scene after scene. The climax between the patriarchs gives a conclusion to the faith vs. reason debate, but the film is not a love story anymore. “Where is Kushi?” one might ask.

Murali’s camera is wonderful. Hesham Abdul Wahab impresses with the songs and the BGM. Rohini and Jayaram’s track is not explored well in the film. The episode in the fertility clinic feels forced. The scene with Rahul Ramakrishna and his maid is ridiculous and serves no purpose.

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All actors are seasoned performers and have done their best. It is the writing that doesn’t go to the depths the film’s premise might offer. Samantha’s character definitely deserved more voice and screen space.

Kushi might appeal to the family audience looking for a fun evening with their beloved stars.

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Kushi movie cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Lakshmi, Sachin Khedekar, Murali Sharma, Jayaram, Sharanya, Rohini, Vennela Kishore, Rahul Ramakrishna, AliKushi movie director: Shiva NirvanaKushi movie rating: 2.5 stars

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