The Cast and Crew
Kamal Kamaraju, Bindu Madhavi, Rao Ramesh, Varun Jonnada, Praneeth, Kameshwara Rao and others
Script: Anish Kuruvilla
Cinematography: Shyam Datt
Art: Narayana Reddy
Choreography: Prem Rakshit
Music: Manikanth Kadri
Analog Editing: K. Ravindra Babu
Digital Editing: Praveen Boyina
Producers: Sekhar Kammula, Chandrasekhar Kammula
Direction: Anish Kuruvilla
Anish Kuruvilla first made a film titled Confessions of a Filmmaker. He is part of Sekhar Kammula school of cinema. His first mainstream film Avakaya Biryani has neither the chilly-mirchi sting of Avakaya ( mango pickle) nor the spicy flavor of Hyderabadi biryani.
Akbar Kalam (Kamal Kamaraju) is an orphan and lives in the village of Devarakonda, dividing his time as a newspaper boy in the morning, driving an auto in the day and studying for BCom in the night. He is a follower of Masterji (Rao Ramesh), a big-time netha of this small village.
Purushottam (Kameshwara Rao) and family uprooted by Polavaram project relocate themselves in Devarakonda. He wants to earn his living by putting up a hotel. His daughter Lakshmi (Bindu Madhavi) sells pickles. She becomes close to Kalam as she goes in his auto often. Romance blooms between them.
Babbar Khan (Varun Jonnada) has one on Lakshmi and the other on a political post. Kamal becomes a hero of sorts when he interacts with the Chief Minister during his visit to the village. He also invites the wrath of Masterji and Babbar Khan.
The rest of the story answers the questions of whether Kalam is allowed to stay in the village and whether Purushotham, a Brahmin, allow his daughter Lakshmi to marry Akbar Kalam, a muslim.
Kamal Kamaraju has the ease, but does not have the wherewithal to carry on as a lead character. Bindu Madhavi, a pucca telugu ammayi, making her debut looks confident. She may have to hone a few nuances of acting. Rao Ramesh looks stale and out of form. Others are almost adequate in their roles.
The story and screenplay are cluttered with too many issues– social, political, psychological, religious, developmental and other socially relevant issues—which are irrelevant to the film. Had the director focused on one issue as backdrop, may be things would have been different.
Initially the film has a potential to evolve into a gripping Hindu-Muslim drama. But then too many vegetables spoil the stew. There is no proper characterization.
Cinematography and music are good, but fail to lift a half-baked Avakaya Biryani to a tasteful level.
Avakaya Biryani has neither the chilly-mirchi sting of Avakaya (mango pickle) nor the spicy flavor of Hyderabadi biryani.
Coming from the stable of Sekhar Kammula, this film is a disappointment. The screenplay drags and the narration is yawningly slow.
2 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar