As the director has stated time and again, Life is Beautiful is a coming of age tale of a set of youngsters. It all begins when Srinivas (Abhijeet), Satya (Rashmi Shastry) and Chinni come to Sunshine Valley to stay for one year.
During this time they become friends with Nagaraju (Sudhakar), Abhi (Kaushik), Padmavati (Shagun Kaur), Lakshmi (Zara) and other colony people and form a bond with them. Together they always engage in quarrels and fights with another set of youngsters who are part of the same valley but belong to the richer section.
How all these characters with time and small incidents develop friendship, start feelings for each other and show growth in life is the overall story of the film.
There are a number of people who make their debut with the film like Abhijeet, Sudhakar, Kaushik, Shagun, Zara, Rashmi etc and almost all of them get a scene or two to showcase their talents. But unfortunately only few shine in the film.
Sudhakar as Nagaraju immediately comes into the mind. He is the most endearing character among all in the film and an instant connect is felt. His Telangana accent and rough body language or his performance in the emotional scenes stand above the rest and make an impact.
Not surprisingly then his pair in the film Zara as Lakshmi too shines and delivers a commendable performance. She shows the vulnerability when required and is also high headed when needed.
Following them is Kaushik as Abhi. Itâ€™s not his performance that makes him noticeable but rather his character which has been designed well and is sure to register in the minds of the audience.
Finally itâ€™s Abhijeet. He actually gets a central character in the film which starts the story but somehow the actor lacks the charm to carry that part. Lack of expression is visible and he fails to convince the audience inner turmoil of his character and hence, disconnect with his character.
Shagun Kaur is fine in the few scenes she gets.
Vijay, Naveen and Sriram have nothing much to do in the film apart from being angry and shouting with an accent.
Apart from these newcomers we have senior actors like Amala Akkineni, Shriya and Anjala Jhaveri. All three leave an impact on the film and bring an air of freshness whenever they are on screen. They have been perfectly casted and they deliver.
Setting of the film
Little heart touching moments
Length of the film
Extremely silly at times
Slow pace tests patience
Entire first half of the film is used as a set up with literally no story in it. Things just go on and on and on. Yes there are few funny moments and as there are lot of characters they need time to be developed but this development process itself shouldnâ€™t be the entire film. Add to it the film runs on the blue print of Happy Days that makes things a lot more predictable which ultimately leads to boredom.
Second half is better comparatively and there are some emotional scenes in it that almost makes connect with the audience. But even in the second half there is a lot of digression and this leads to an overall dilution in the impact of the emotional scenes. As the film approaches its end miraculously everything falls into place all of a sudden, this transformation is only heard in words through voice-overs but cannot be visually and emotionally felt which ultimately is what the film aims to convey the audience. Hence the overall impact that is expected from the film is missing. It is a good attempt that fails to realize its potential.
Direction by Sekhar Kammula is good. He gets his characters, his world, and their behavior alright. But he fails on the screenplay aspect as he doesnâ€™t make the audience be part of his world rather he lets them be just mere spectators of his world.
Music by Mickey J Mayer is fine and the background music is good. Had the editor been true to his work we would have spared of watching major chunk of the film that just drags endlessly. Cinematography is good. Thota Tharani once again deserves special applause for the colony set he has created. It is beautiful and looks almost like real lived colony as one sees in reality.
Bottom-line: Life is Beautiful when you watch it on DVD, personally, with forward option.