Where does originality in a movie lie? When the movie in question is talked about for its originality, what exactly does that mean? The term that is often tagged to originality is another industry buzz word - freshness. Club the two together and combination becomes a cinematic cliche. A scene here or there, a dialogue here or there, a song that is picturized differently or a characterization that is a little off-kilter - the buzz words, originality and freshness, are immediately summoned to sum up the entire movie. Often times, originality and freshness and mistaken for the phrase 'different'. The chase scene that is picturized with Sumos instead of helicopters, the fight scene that is composed with cycle chains and hockey sticks instead of the usual blows and acrobatics, the song that is picturized in a never before seen foreign locale instead of the regular standard visuals - it is only the apparatus that is changed here and not the modus operandi. Specially in movies that indulge in pure human drama, from which facet does originality ooze, that which hasn't been explored, exploited, investigated and done to death yet, in the 50 or so odd years that telugu films blazed the silver screen. Pick a simple single flaw of human nature, like an easily identifiable (particularly in the Indian culture) trait of over-bearing nature of the parents to provide the necessary conflict, frame the construct around the everyday happenings of any household, resolve the conflict in a manner that pleases both the mind and the heart at the same time, stay clear from the temptations of yeilding to the regular trappings of the commercial cinema to build the framework for originality. If it is said that devil lies in the the details, originality, angelically, lies in its simplicity.
Bommarillu is a textbook example (can even be made a textbook in itself) for originality. In the 80 or setups that is the accepted standard of any script, the facts that not a single setup appears borrowed, inspired, lifted or reworked, and not a single setup appears forced, out of place or jarring, stands as the testament to both the writer and the director to believe in the mantra for originality - simplicity. The concepts of 'threads', 'tracks', 'layers' fall completely in the face of simplicity. A lover defies all odds, situations and the surroundings to realize his love at all costs in Maine Pyaar Kiya. A college student vexed with the current system picks up the weapon and tries to shape the world around him in a manner he sees fit in Siva. A teenage couple who had been friends since childhood realize what had been friendship till then grew with them and transformed itself into love in Nuvve Kaavaali. Notice the complete absence of unnecessary threads, layers and separate tracks in any of those movies. The script moves along a pre-ordained path of achieving what it set out for in the shortest path possible that connects the beginning and the ending - path of simplicity which comes only in straight lines. Unnecessary clutter in the form of extraneous scenes or characters that suffocate the screen, the mandatory item presentations meant for eye-candy, the forced comedy setups supposed to ease the tension and provide the relief (that no one asked for), come into play when clarity, the pre-requisite for simplicity, is found largely wanting but sorely missing in the minds of the makers, when they set upon translating their vision on paper to the screen; and Bommarillu shows that tension need not be eased when the underlying emotion is true and genuine, comedy is not necessary when the situation has turned serious and the only emotion that it is one that involves heavy drama, and no tricky (alliterative/rhyming) word play is required if the words that come out, come straight from the heart.
The hero, Siddardh, is a Tamilian, who speaks Tamil with a Hindi accent and Hindi with a slight Tamil tinge. His Telugu is spotty at best, bearing a heavy accent and he probably does not understand the nuances of the language to get his take on the dialogues across effectively most of the times. Despite all the barriers that the foregin language poses, he stands tall on everyone else's shoulders in terms of delivering a tour-de-force performance, by virtue of his sincerity in his approach and complete assimilation of his character. His character is caught in a cross-fire of his father's over-bearing nature and his inability to pour his heart out, which is laden with situations calling for emotional moments that range from one extreme to another. Yet in EVERY one of the scenes, including the drunkard scenes which usually call for over-the-top theatricality, Siddardh's performance is balanced, mature and very much in the scene. He does not seem to disassociate from the moment, either looking down on it or laying safe on the sidelines, even when it calls for outlandish moves. It is this commitment to the moment which finally pays off brilliantly in the explosive climax, which involves some of the finest acting moments that is captured on the celluloid in the recent times. Another revelation in the movie is one from behind the screen - Devi SriPrasad. Here is a music director who started off his career with a great promise and soon slipped into the rut of mass beats and dance rhythms completely ignoring whatever has been his strong point that was endearing in the first place - pure melody. Even if they weren't his best, his tunes for Bommarillu are a welcome change, sounding totally unlike any of his previous compositions, as though the infectiousness of originality of the rest of the crew finally got to him too.