Director: Narendra Nath
Cast: Keerthy Suresh, Jagapathi Babu, V.K. Naresh, Rajendra Prasad, Nadhiya
Narendra Nath’s Netflix outing, Miss India (in Telugu) may have well been titled Miss Keerthi Suresh. For, writer/director Nath and the camera seem to be in love with her onscreen persona. There is hardly a frame without her, and the camera keeps following her focusing on her shoes, her arms before studying her rather bland expressions as she keeps walking from one office to another, along several corridors and through the many ups and downs in her life. At other times, the camera trains rather aimlessly on the San Francisco skyline or the gurgling streams in the city.
Some of the biggest impediments in achieving a reasonably good piece of cinema are poor scripting, poorer narrative styles and finally the doggedness to let an editor do his/her job. With the result, a film ends up having so much chaff that the core plot gets fudged up. Not that there is anything novel in Miss India – a title which appears like India promotion. Remember those Manoj Kumar starers in yonder times, when he was aptly titled Mr Bharath!
Suresh’s Manasa Samyuktha grows up in a middle-class home in Andhra Pradesh with a grandfather, who believes that tea has great medicinal properties, a hard-working father, a mother, who believes that every girl’s aim in life must be to marry, have children and sink into domestic bliss. Her brother oozes with male chauvinism.
But Samyuktha dreams big, and when the brother gets a job in San Francisco, the entire family moves along with him. There must have been some guardian angel at the US Immigration, who allowed the whole family to migrate together!
In her new home, Samyuktha finds a job, but she wants to do business – which is strongly opposed by her mother and brother. But she is determined to start a venture, and having grown up on tea, she believes that introducing “chai” to mostly coffee gulpers would be a great idea, and she sets about doing this.
Suresh who gave us a brilliant performance as South Indian actress Savithri in the 2018 Mahanati, has been disappointing us. She seemed bland in Penguin on Amazon Prime. And in Miss India, she appears like an ice maiden, completely failing to emote the angst she faces on her path which eventually puts her on the cover of Fortune. Also, what I found horribly saddening is the way the writer has made light of a serious condition like Alzheimer’s – which hits Samyuktha’s father.
The movie is yawning long at 136 minutes, and the plot could have been dismissed in just about 90 minutes!
Rating: 0.5 out of 5
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is author, commentator and movie critic)