By Sharanya Mosalakanti (Pune, Maharashtra, India)

 

A guy, standing in the toilet in front of a broken mirror, with a cigarette on his lips. Hmm, way for a great start of the movie. Pretty straightforward and well, normal. The movie had a great start, with Bobby narrating his life in his deep, attractive voice. A very, very strong resemblance to his character in Arjun Reddy, where he is seen drinking and smoking, crying for a girl he lost. Then comes the all expected “Aggressive Behaviour” where he smashes the glass of the Phone Booth and his friends end up carrying him back home. I won’t say I didn’t expect the whole sad boy with anger issues part in the beginning, but that’s pretty much where the whole story begins. And I’d give it a ten on ten mostly because of how the movie began in a completely normal setting, except the smashing of glass doors which comes around later.

The narration was, yes, beautiful. I love how they started with the backstory of Bobby and Lily, how they met, and how it was NOT love at first sight. That’s exactly what I loved about the whole movie – it was not love at first sight; kind of a personal bias, though. Those small taunts by Lilly towards Bobby, and the way he was embarrassed in front of her – I found it adorable how tiny details like that added to their chemistry. Plus the eerie resemblance to Geetha Govindam. Ugh, my feels are back again.

Oh, and let’s not forget how the movie totally did not try to cover up gender role stereotypes. I respect the Team for bringing out everyday conflicting issues. When Lilly offers to play as the last batsman for their team and the guys go, “Just sit and watch, if you get hit by the ball you’ll get hurt.” And the girl literally got all those sixes and fours right there I mean, YESSS! GIRL POWER! YOU GO GAL!!

Now we come to the main part of the story; which literally everything was based on, excluding the romance part of it. From the trailer, to the movie description, to what formed Vijay Devarakonda’s character, this was what the movie wanted to show. Bobby, or Chaitanya, must I say, the Leader of Student Union of his college. Pretty provocative as his team’s activities were, he was that guy who would do anything for Student Rights in and outside the college. And he lived up to what was expected of him. He stood up for his mates, and the girl who was being stalked, just not in ethical ways. But he paid for his actions so we’re going to skip that part. Villains are always there, of course. Else it would have been more of a movie where the guy sets a bar for Perfectionism and we don’t want that, yeah?

I personally liked how they included Lilly’s brother’s past, which also helped build up her character and let us know why she was so against Bobby doing the same. I mean, cheers! We didn’t get a female lead who would cry over her guy beating people up without actually having a reason to do so. A win for us.

Their chemistry was enthralling, simply put. So pure, and so innocent. Rashmika Mandanna totally delivered her character. A passionate cricketer who was smitten, YES. I so love the whole concept of it. I also noticed how Bobby played the character of an ‘ideal boyfriend’ who would support his girlfriend no matter what. Especially the way he just reached places – Bangalore and Chennai – just to cheer for Lilly and give her all the moral support she needed, even though she still kept her passion for cricket above their love. Bobby’s dedication, man. I could’ve never. Let’s not ignore the fact that we all want to experience the Window x Rain kiss too. It was — magnificent!

I would love to insert an ‘Interval’ here as well for the sole reason that half the review is basically all spoilers. And the fact that Vijay Devarakonda looked so good in the entire duration of the movie doesn’t help either.

Coming to the second part of the tale, YEEEEET PLOT TWISTS, which the Trailer never even gave us a hint about, let me tell you, I LOVED IT. The small details and hints they dropped in this part were insane.

We have come to that generation where crying over bottles of alcohol is not the only solution. The movie encouraged and initiated positivity and I totally love the Team for doing that. The whole concept of ‘Being a Comrade for someone’ is beautiful and I adore Bobby’s grandfather for leaving him with such a valuable insight on life. Also the fact that Bobby actually applied it in his life.

Nature is beautiful, people. Take time to appreciate it just like Bobby did.

The way the movie covered his entire travelling span of three years with summers and kids playing, winters in hilly areas and campfire at night, his life in a tent and how everything he came across added to his experiences and lessons. It was beautiful. Sound Therapy is something I genuinely relate to, and including it in the movie just boosted my love for Sound Therapy a hundred times more. I was just so proud of Bobby the entire time they briefed his 3 years. I mean, just look at how he transformed into such a different person! So proud of him. Pardon me for promoting nature once again, but you see how Nature just knows how to make you feel good? Yeah.

Moving further, this was probably the most conflicting part of the movie for me. It was all Bobby’s life and Bobby’s point of view till this comes on, and the focus is back on Lilly and what she went through these three years Bobby was somewhere up on the hills. Lilly, as we saw, got into an accident and had to give up her only dream – which triggered her mental state. Lilly on the bed, her hands tied with bags under her eyes in a Psychiatric Ward was totally NOT what I was expecting in the second part but it just adds to the main motive of the movie so let’s just go with it. A lot of conflicting views, but I was kind of anti-Bobby when he decided to just pickup, more like kidnap Lilly from her Hospital Bed and help her get over her depression. Tying her to the bed and continue her treatment process wasn’t that great of an option either, but I wouldn’t recommend randomly taking away a patient with any sort of mental or emotional disorder from the hospital. More so when you met that person after 3 whole years of no contact. Quite unethical, eh? But we’re talking about a movie here and what he did, did prove to be a better way to help her cope with depression, and to some extent, even find a solution to it. So yay!

The part that would tug at your heartstrings would be the unwavering expressions of Bobby when Lilly reminds him of the window kiss in the rain. The subtle head nods and the way he asks “Is it?” THE CHEMISTRY. It was there. You could FEEL it but Bobby had a neutral expression on his face – like he almost had the urge to repeat the whole thing all over again, but it was just not the right time. I loved that part. And all the conversations Lilly initiated about the love they shared and Bobby didn’t, couldn’t, share the same emotions at that point of time. Like I said, an innocent yet mature romance is what this movie gave us and it’s worth all the popcorn and pizzas you are going to have while watching it.

Now, now, the social issues; my favourite part! The Dear Comrade Team didn’t miss a thing. From sexual harassment to gender stereotypes to media play and political connections, we have it all in the movie.

They addressed the topic of sexual harassment in a subtle way in the beginning, till it actually grew bigger and we had our girl fight for her rights! Depression, anxiety and defense mechanism because of what Lilly had to go through was one thing, and it was persistent till the end, where she refused to speak the truth and stand for herself. And that’s where they broke the stereotype. There was a MAN who was willing to bring up the issue and give justice to not just one, but literally every girl who had to go through sexual abuse in workplace. Like I said, the concept of a Comrade was absolutely beautiful. We all need a person who is willing to push us to face the world. Also issues on preconceived notions about how the girls are victim-shamed. They showed all of it. I AM SO PROUD.

One thing that triggered me was how the movie, in the end, went back to making Bobby the same ‘aggressive’ guy who took to violence when it came to justice. I understand the context was different and what he did was to some extent, right. But here’s what – you don’t see a guy who went through sound therapy to become someone new for three whole years lose his cool in a Court! I felt it was a bit contradictory, considering the fact that he himself took the initiative to make himself a better person. Nevertheless, they got his ‘goody’ character back in the Court scene after all the shouting, when he just calmed down and gave up with sharp words which he knew would later effect Lilly and lead her to speaking up the truth. Clever boy.

The message of the story? Absolutely inspiring. I said this before and I’m going to say this again, but the Team gave their hundred percent, and succeeded in encouraging every person out there who was stepped down by the ‘society’ to COME OUT AND SPEAK UP FOR THEMSELVES. There will always be people who are in your support. So speak up, okay?

An inspiration to all the guys as well? Yes! There were a few points that were pretty favourable towards the guys, which I totally loved, though the movie was centred around issues about girls. One, the part where Lilly just wasn’t giving him his own space to reflect on what he did, in the hospital. Give the guy some quiet space, girl. I’m pretty much satisfied with how he just asked everyone to leave him at that point of time, because frustration is a THING and you can’t just force people out of it. Two, the bromance. I was so in for the bromance. Martin my hype man and how both of his friends gave him the ‘bro code’ treatment when they saw him after three years. I loved it. Three, and the last one would be the way they brought up the topic that men can feel emotions. Men can write poetry, and emotional poetry at that. The poem about being a Comrade? That was great, and inspiring. So boys out there, EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS.

Overall, I’d give it a 9.5/10 and the minus point goes for Vijay Devarakonda doing things to my heart and being all cool and handsome on the screen I mean, I HAVE A FRAGILE HEART YOU CAN’T ACT THIS GOOD.

There were certain triggers and violence, yes, but that’s what helped build Bobby’s personality. Lilly’s character was pretty well played as well. An emotionally stable passionate cricketer who eventually had to give up her dream because of sexual harassment, which turned her into someone who feared even being strong. Great development of character right there. The story was great. It was sensitive but then it was also empowering and motivating. There were times when there were hints about what was going to happen next, but it didn’t and I absolutely love the flow of the movie. Energetic.

That’s all, folks. I might as well end up adding it to my ‘Re-watch more than 7 times’ list and yes, it was THAT good.

Rating: 4/5

 

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