It’s tricky ground when you are writing a flawed person as the protagonist of your film. You don’t want to end up romanticising him like in Arjun Reddy; you don’t want to seem like an apologist for him, like in World Famous Lover. Somehow, Krishna and His Leela manages to do this beautifully, treading the delicate line between vilifying and idolising him. It simply paints him as an average young man, prone to the very human follies of instinct and desire. It achieves this neutral ground because it’s not in love with him. The writers, Ravikanth Perepu and Sidhu Jonnalagadda (the director and actor respectively), refuse the temptation of mass-ifying their hero, Krishna. They are content to use the character as a tool to try and explore the complexities of romance, specifically of modern romance between young adults. They observe him, taking notes of his evolution, capturing highlight reels of his relationships, and all the while, remain aware of the many shades of grey in romance. It’s why you never feel Krishna is a horrible person. He’s wrong, of course, to lie to the women in his life, but he’s simply a sample of the many men who do it. Never once does this film try to justify Krishna as a ‘good man’ or one worthy of emulation. In fact, towards the end, a woman even proclaims that she would never want to be with a man like Krishna, and he isn’t threatened by this public diss. He replies that he totally gets it. And he isn’t lying. Krishna knows he’s not a great guy. He’s dazed and confused—pun intended—and very aware of his imperfection. And that I would argue, makes him a very decent person.
Director: Ravikanth Perepu
Cast: Siddhu Jonnalagadda, Shraddha Srinath, Seerat Kapoor, Shalini Vadnikatti
Streaming on: Netflix
The film doffs its hat to some inspirations: like when Krishna says he has tickets to Ae Dil hai Mushkil, and or when he sings, Tum Hi Ho from Aashiqui 2, both films that spoke of complex love. The mythological inspirations are straightforward. The hero’s Krishna; the film’s about his ‘leelas’. There’s Radha (Shalini Vadnikatti), Sathya (Shraddha Srinath), and a third girl named Rukhsar (Seerat Kapoor). The mythological touches are in your face without the director having to spell these details at the end. It’s also a film in which Krishna often breaks the fourth wall for humour, but occasionally, regrettably, to explain his stance on romance. Krishna and His Leela is a film whose characters and situations bring out enough complexity without its lead character having to look into the camera and ask why it’s wrong to be in love with two women at the same time.
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For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), visit https://www.cinemaexpress.com/stories/columns/2020/apr/22/why-dharala-prabhus-kannadasan-is-a-sage-18129.html?page=preview