Serendipity smiled down on me. I’ve been so busy with holiday nonsense that I haven’t had time to watch movies much the last few weeks.
I actually have owned this movie, Ye Maaya Chesave (What Magic Have You Done — a very appropriate title) for months. I bought it in a DVD bundle when I took a chance on a Bhavani DVD order. Another movie in the bundle, starring Nagarjuna in King, I did not like that much and this other DVD got pushed to the back of the pile. I was looking for something else this week and came upon it. When I ordered it, I did not know either actor in that front cover pic, but they sure look familiar to me now!
This was Samantha Prabhu’s first movie! This was only Naga Chaitanya’s second film from 2010. That’s why it was bundled with his father’s movie! Evidently, it was a huge Telugu hit. The director, Gautham Menon just directed Chaitanya again in that movie I saw in the theater last month, Sahasam Swasaga Sagipo (FYI, if you don’t know Samantha and Chaitanya recently got engaged in real life.)
I will tell you straight out that both leads show that this is an early film. There’s sort of a fidgeting to some scenes like they don’t quite know what to do with themselves — they don’t yet have that confident screen presence they do now.
But there are a few scenes that are just pure magic! The awkwardness and how young they look fit with the characters. Poor Chaitanya has got acne, and Samantha is so baby-faced!
The movie starts in a church and Jessie (Samantha Prabhu) is the bride, and Karthik (Chaitanya) is sitting in the pews with his head in his hand. “Why did I have to fall in love with Jessie?” And, flashback for half the movie.
It’s young first love. Forbidden love because she’s Christian and he’s Hindu. He’s a jerk in front of her brother and father and they hate him. But oh my gosh the young love is so sweet, but sometimes with a little edge to it. Karthik wants to be a film director and doesn’t have a job, which on top of being Hindu does not endear him to Jessie’s dad. Poor Jessie’s only been allowed to see five films her whole LIFE. (Also, nice twist that the girl is two years older than the boy.)
Real life director, Puri Jagannadh (Pokiri), cameos as the director on whose film Karthik finally gets a job as an assistant director.
There are many twists to the story. Karthik is a jerk and needs to grow up in the worst way. Jessie needs to get a spine at moments, but then does so in spectacular fashion. It’s one of those movies that feels both like a real complicated relationship, and also so filmi with moments for love songs that just sweep you away.
The ending is just filmi swoon inducing. I had to play the last 10 minutes all over again when I finished because this one speech of Karthik’s at the end — just the best.
The music is all A R. Rahman and is an awesome soundtrack. This director films his movies in Tamil and Telugu at the same time — but with different casts. I was absolutely tickled at the exotic locale for this fantasy song when he’s first falling — Princeton!!
I really loved how the song Kundanapu Bomma was edited into the film. Karthik is having this fantasy of sweeping Jessie off her feet and taking her in his arms and kissing her. And the action goes back in forth from the fantasy to the reality of his first tentative kisses, and then the slap he gets! (I’ve marked the video about where that bit starts.)
Evidently Samantha the actress is half Telugu and half Malayalam, and her character is as well. So key parts of the movie are in Kerala. The wedding scene with her bridal boat approaching the big white church is just stunning. I got a kick out of fish out of water Telugu Karthik and his friend to make their way in Kerala. “Guys in colored lungis are going to beat us up, Karthik, why do we have to go to Kerala?!”
Thanks to this film, I now have maybe my all time favorite line in an Indian movie. When the two lead characters meet in Central Park in NYC, they hug and then the guy says, “This is America! I can kiss you in the middle of the road!” And he does, repeatedly.