Sumanth Prabhas makes a ‘good’ film. It’s filled with good people. Jinka Venu (Kiran Macha), the Sarpanch of the village, for instance, is the trio’s guardian angel who stands by them when the entire village reprimands them. When the boys hit rock bottom in the second half he is the only one to console them in a beautiful scene. Likewise, Mai’s uncle, Anji Mama, who remains a constant source of support to the boys, is a warm presence. Durga’s father might look at them with disdain and compare them to pigs but he goes to the extent of mortgaging his hard-earned land to support them financially when the trio decides to kickstart a business. Baali’s prospective father-in-law, despite initial resistance, gives him the approval to marry his daughter Babitha albeit on the condition that he moves to Hyderabad. Even Ramachandar, the ‘bad guy’ of the film, isn’t treated like one in the end. You see, Mem Famous is comforting and uplifting in its mood. It keeps telling the youth that everything will fall into place in the end despite the heartbreaks.
The moment when Baali has to part ways with his best friends and move to Hyderabad is beautiful, accompanied by Kalyan Nayak’s heartfelt ‘Dosthulam’, rendered beautifully by Kaala Bhairava. A thread featuring a minor character named Mallayya, for instance, whom the trio offends twice, gets a lovely closure. This hearty film soars during such pleasing moments.
While the film, complemented by Kalyan Nayak’s score, hits the right notes on the ‘feels’ front, it falters a bit on the pacing front. That’s partly due to the structure of a film. The first half of the film is propelled by a particular motivation—to make the leads find a direction in their life. In the second half, the characters are pushed to ground zero and they have to restart from scratch. This structure itself makes the film overlong because we have to see the characters find a new motivation and work towards the goal. Again. While the YouTube video angle—capturing the reactions of villagers when they interact with modern inventions—itself is chuckle-worthy, the film and the characters take a tad long to get to the point. Also, ‘going viral’ is a cliched plot point and a convenient writing choice at this point. And just when you think the film might have finally found its ground, it shifts gears and takes up another conflict (one about the development of the village) for the finale. These shifts can be uneven at times and made me wonder about the film’s focus.