Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Jathi Ratnalu | Movie Review by Anupama Chopra | Naveen Polishetty | Film Companion

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Jathi Ratnalu loosely translates into jewels of the nation in Telugu.

That descriptor is ironic.

The three friends it refers to are far from it.

Srikanth, Ravi and Shekhar are slackers,

desperate to escape the confines of their small town, Jogipet.

They long for the big city and the respect it brings

especially if you have a job that hangs an identity card around your neck.

Led by Srikanth, who convinces his father to give him two months to make something of his life,

the three head to Hyderabad.

But instead of landing jobs, they find themselves embroiled in a murky political controversy,

which involves corrupt ministers, a cell phone with an incriminating video and bribes of hundreds of crores.

They must now extricate themselves from the mess

and also ensure that Srikanths love story with their neighbor Chitti stays on track.

All of this plays out with outlandish humour that doesnt flag

despite the films daunting duration of 2 hours and 28 minutes.

Writer-director Anudeep K.V. stitches together a sparkling comedy that is cheerfully silly

without being lazy.

The chemistry between the three will remind you of 3 Idiots

and the absurd plot of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

The narrative veers into nonsensical but the inspired lunacy keeps it afloat

the jokes keep coming and they almost always land.

So Srikanth, who pretends that he can speak fluent English, says lines like:

'Im also a responsible Citizen Kane of this country'

or according to Indian constipation, Im still uncriminal till proof.

There's a hilarious thread about Ravis love interest a woman he's never met.

The two have painfully banal conversations but with great passion

and refuse to hang up on each other.

When Chittis disapproving father angrily asks Srikanth if hes ever heard of a PhD,

Srikanth says, Ive heard the letters but separately.

Into the laughs, Anudeep threads in social commentary

the film touches upon the lack of opportunity in small towns,

the dazzle of the big city, which ultimately proves hollow,

the venality of politicians, and their rabid, ignorant followers who will do anything to keep them in power.

The three friends are, as Srikanth says, good people who tell small lies.

They just want a slice of the shiny consumerist dream reflected in the tall buildings and swanky offices of Hyderabad.

Theres a lovely moment in which Srikanth, sitting with Chitti, tells somebody on the phone

that he'll call him later because right now hes at the Taj Banjara.

And then he says gleefully, he always wanted to drop that line.

Banjara Hills, the posh locality of Hyderabad, is a symbol of the good life,

which Srikanth aspires to.

At one point, he declares, I will be a Banjara Hills son-in-law.

But eventually the boys discover that Jogipet offers something that Hyderabad perhaps never will

warmth, familiarity, home.

The actors Naveen Polishetty as Srikanth, Rahul Ramakrishna as Ravi and Priyadarshi as Shekhar are terrific.

The film might be purposefully absurd

but they are playing it straight, which adds to the laughs.

Srikanth is a charming everyman.

His yearning for something better in life than his fathers bangles shop in Jogipet

is instantly relatable.

But do keep an eye on Ravi, the drunk in the trio.

Theres a laugh-out-loud moment in which the cops administer a narco-test on the three boys

but it doesn't fully work on Ravi because he proudly says, he drinks so much.

Thankfully the script doesnt relegate the heroine to a glamorous entry and two songs.

Chitti, played by the lovely debutant Faria Abdullah,

is pivotal in resolving the mess the boys find themselves in.

Through the film, Anudeep also pays homage to the movies and how they shape our lives and dreams.

Its apparent that this is a film made by a film fan.

For too long now, the film industry has peddled mindless comedies

or what we call 'Dimaag Nikaal Ke Dekho' cinema.

These are shoddily made movies in which anything goes because the audience isn't supposed to ask any questions.

Jathi Ratnalu isnt big on craft or logic either. But the intelligence and hard work shines through.

The film shows us that laughter and brains arent mutually exclusive.

In the 1941 classic Sullivans Travels, a film director named Sullivan,

who's keen to make a serious and important film,

discovers through a series of misadventures the importance of comedy.

He says,


Jathi Ratnalu is the infusion of good cheer you need right now.

You can watch the film on Amazon Prime Video.

The Description of Jathi Ratnalu | Movie Review by Anupama Chopra | Naveen Polishetty | Film Companion