C/o Kancharapalem Story: Four love stories of four different age-groups set amid a suburb in Visakhapatnam come alive in one film where the perspectives of religion, gender, relationships change over time. C/o Kancharapalem Review: It’s a noisy-little suburb in a big town, a close knit community that stands by each other in the time of need, united by their love for art. Trains pass between two parallel colonies through the day, everyone has an opinion on almost everything that surrounds them- a lot about Kancharapalem is heartwarmingly simple, ordinary and most importantly identifiable. It’s rare for a film to do a commentary on religion, stature, age and love while never stating the obvious, C/O Kancharapalem shows more than it tells and you want to pick up a piece of the place as you leave the film. In a unique Habib Tanvir-like filmmaking experiment where the director Venkatesh Maha predominantly uses local residents as artists for a project, staying with them and telling their story to a wider audience, C/O Kancharapalem may seem another artsy-indie film on paper. However it’s the sincerity, the ability to look at the beauty behind their ordinariness that leaves behind an impact. A manager insisting that an attender sit by her side during lunch as a statement of equality, the suspicion in the community about a man’s sexuality for remaining unmarried at 49, a boy’s belief that his God has been instrumental in getting him acquainted with his lady love, these are the stories that we hear.
Anthologies aren’t alien to Telugu films-the more recent ones being Chandamama Kathalu and Vedam, yet the seamlessness with which its four sub-plots are tied up springs a surprise, that also remains the only quintessential twist in conventional-film terms. The first obvious takeaway from the film is the filmmaker’s idea of age, how your belief system changes with setbacks. Sundaram and Sunitha are in their pre-teens, where their liking for each other translates into underlining the word ‘Sun’ in their names. The girl’s favourite song is the Maro Charitra number is lyrical explicitness isn’t perceived appropriate for the age, the elders around her object to it. The idea of love between the two is how the boy helps her learn the song, while they remain unaffected by the song’s intent. Another instance of showcasing honesty in love between a wine-shop boy and a prostitute too isn’t quite conventional- the former accepts her enough to give her a condom, also proposing to her with a wine bottle in his hand, of the girl’s favourite brand. The oft-ignored tales of those in the 40s are the film’s soul, a ringside view of what they seek from a relationship, showcasing their wisdom, depth and understanding of life without making it sound like a gyaan-giving session is one of the film’s biggest accomplishments.