- Cast: Akhil, Kalyani Priyadarshan
- Music: Anup Rubens
- Director: Vikram Kumar
- Storyline: Of two youngsters rekindling their childhood bonhomie
Some premises are hard to believe and harder to execute, but this is a trait that has ensured the exclusivity of a director like Vikram Kumar, be it 13B, Manam, 24 or his latest outing Hello. His ability to intertwine intelligence and soul within the mainstream format comes to the fore in the Akhil-Kalyani Priyadarshan starrer, a tale of childhood bonhomie, longing and romance spanning over a 15-year timeline. Where the logic falls short or a cliché surfaces, conviction of the filmmaker comes through. The innocence of its protagonists, the significance of little yet poignant moments over a two-hour narrative results in a memorable romance-action-musical.
Childhood romances are a tricky arena to enter into; often we end up seeing characters who talk beyond their age. Associating that phase with love isn’t a space many filmmakers have done with maturity — Hello passes this test well. The orphan Seenu and the seemingly rich Junnu in Hyderabad share a unique bond laced with innocence and playfulness until the latter’s father shifts to Delhi. The two move on with life sooner, Seenu, now Avinash, is adopted by well-to-do parents and Junnu looks settled in Delhi, however, there’s a void that they find hard to come to terms with. The hope to meet again in life keeps them going.
The devices used to rekindle young romance during adulthood are familiar ones — a song played on the violin, a panipuri wala, a ₹100 note and a lost mobile number. No wonder, Nagarjuna’s voiceover to the film consistently hints at ‘destiny’. The subplots enhance its depth, like the thread about parents dealing with an adopted son. Vikram also indulges in other familiar tropes, the ‘I love you-ila ivvu’ like reference (in Manam) finds similarity with the ‘I hate you’ line, the airport sequences done to good effect in Ishq and Manam are equally funny in Hello too.
If there’s anything that feels forced, it’s the action episodes despite their breathtaking choreography. Akhil chases people over a metro, trucks, jumps across buildings with consummate ease — all for a lost mobile number. It’s the only phase where things look larger than life and are done for commercial liberty. Otherwise, the regular humour quotient, thanks to an effective Ramya Krishna, keeps the film afloat. In a film where music plays a bridge between timelines, Anup Rubens is in top form in an album that’s set on a hummable melodic base.
Akhil makes tremendous progress in his second film, the streaks of madness and innocence in the character come across in his histrionics. Besides his comfort with the action, dance sequences and a commendable debut as a singer (with ‘Yevevo kalalu kanna’) , the emotional threads are proof to his on-screen ease. Kalyani Priyadarshan’s entry happens a little late into the film but it’s a commendable debut complementing and sharing good chemistry with Akhil. It’s a relief to see Jagapati Babu take a break from his antagonist appearances and be a doting dad. The director is still the captain of this ship, it’s his honest characters that take the narrative flow forward, the seamless blend of elements surrounding destiny and long-lost romance enrich Hello.