ABCD movie cast: Allu Sirish, Rukshar Dhillon, Nagendra Babu
ABCD movie director: Sanjeev Reddy
ABCD movie rating: One star
Filmmaker Sanjeev Reddy just wants to make a film. That film may not be something he likes. It may not even have a story that he really cares about. He seems to just want to make any movie that allows him to call himself a mainstream director. At least, that is the impression that I formed after watching his Tollywood directorial debut ABCD, which is short for American Born Confused Desi.
ABCD is the remake of the Malayalam movie of the same name that came out more than half a decade ago. Since then we have had many films about entitled NRI kids, who even ended up ruling Indian states. It sort of baffles me when I think what did actor Allu Sirish and Sanjeev Reddy find so appealing about this story filled with overused tropes of a spoiled brat, who, eventually, not-so-surprisingly, ends up appreciating his life.
It was apparently Sirish who suggested Sanjeev take up the responsibility to direct the remake while turning down the latter’s original work. The question is what value did Sirish think he could bring to playing a millionaire NRI that we have not already seen over the years? Did he think he could charm the audience by trying to mimic a false NRI accent? Or did he think rolling his eyes at his good-natured father (played by Nagendra Babu) would click with the young audience?
It’s just elementary knowledge that a film would only connect with the audience if it reflects the present times, where the viewers find incidents that they could relate to. It puzzles me when I think why would the filmmakers expect the audience to waste their hard-earned money to see a rich brat learn his lesson on poverty and how to live on a tight budget?
The original Malayalam film had Dulquer Salmaan in the lead role and the actor did the film at a time when he was trying to find a foothold in the industry as a young heartthrob. In spite of cliches, the film worked thanks to then relatively newcomer Dulquer’s innate coolness and raw charm.
On the other hand, Allu Sirish has been in the industry for too long to pull off a rabbit out of a hat by recycling an uninspired story. I liked Sirish in Okka Kshanam (2017), a low-budget, okayish, sci-fi film. In spite of the film’s several follies, it felt Sirish was trying to be his own man. It seemed he was testing the waters and wanted to make his own mark in the industry. And now, ABCD puts him in the league of young actors who aspire box office success far more than they care about the art of filmmaking/acting itself.