This Telugu film addressing issues associated with male pattern baldness is well intentioned and works in parts
When something feels sorely amiss, we lose so much sleep over it that we fail to see the brighter things in life. Society might be largely to blame for how it expects everyone to conform to certain norms, but do we have it within ourselves to rise above it? Nootokka Jillala Andagadu, written by Srinivas Avasarala, is the story of a man coming to terms with male pattern baldness. There’s a lot of humour, some of it works and some fall flat, at the end of which the protagonist has to find it in himself to be confident and take on the world.
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GSN a.k.a Suri (Srinivas Avasarala) works at a real estate firm, has a doting mom (Rohini) and hails from a middle class family. The one thing that drives him up the wall is his baldness, which he blames on his genes and helpfully says that in Telugu, it translates to karma!
- 101 Jillala Andagadu
- Cast: Srinivas Avasarala, Ruhani Sharma
- Direction: Rachakonda Vidyasagar
- Music: Shakthikanth Karthick
The 2019 Hindi films Bala and Udja Chaman on male baldness also spoke of fat shaming and prejudice about dark skin. In pre-release interviews, Avasarala stated that Nootakka… was conceptualised before these films made headlines, but this project took time to shape up.
For Nootokka…, Avasarala channels his sense of humour, love for vintage music and cinema in an attempt to make GSN a good-natured guy next door whose smile hides his internal struggles. The wig becomes GSN’s second skin. He never wears a helmet because he can’t risk taking it off without disturbing his perfectly set artificial armour. He wears a cap at home, even when he goes to sleep. The only place where GSN is at peace is when he’s singing S P Balasubrahmanyam hits in the shower.
A few segments are hilarious — the genius with which one bald man hiding under a wig can spot another of his ilk in a crowd, how the artificial mane needs grooming sessions, and a spin off of the iconic exchange of words between Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor from Deewar. Some of the humour falls flat, like the pun on ‘pai’ (top) floor to describe the girl as ‘paina’st (finest) ammayi.
The story is straightforward. GSN falls in love with his new colleague (Ruhani Sharma), a level-headed woman who makes him see things for what they are. So we get a film where GSN’s charade in front of her doesn’t get dragged till the climax. Self esteem is the bigger battle to be won.
When the easy humour dries up, we get some stale segments of GSN trying to hide his truth from an irksome childhood friend.
Avasarala and Ruhani play their parts effectively and Rohini shows yet again that she can make a difference in a crucial scene.
Nootokka… is well intentioned and handles issues with sensitivity. But it doesn’t have the spark with which Avasarala wrote Oohalu Gusagusalade and Jo Atchutananda.