Sammohanam movie cast: Aditi Rao Hydari, Sudheer Babu, Tanikella Bharani, Rahul Ramakrishna, Naresh
Sammohanam movie director: Mohan Krishna Indraganti
Sammohanam movie rating: 2.5 stars
After naming his last film Ami Thumi, director Mohanakrishna Indraganti has picked a very serious Telugu title for his new film Sammohanam which, apparently, means magical attraction. The film has got a very familiar setting that we have seen in a number of feel-good romantic films that usually deal with first world romantic problems. But Indraganti, who is also the writer of this film, makes the viewing a pleasant experience with appealing characters who have a modern outlook on rejections and failures.
Vijay (Sudheer Babu), a cartoonist wanting to make it big in the field of graphic novels, nurtures a distaste for the film industry and its members for the reasons unexplained in the narration. It is really hard to put the finger on the source of his hatred, in spite of having a father Naresh (VK Naresh) who is totally crazy about movies. Then things begin to change in Vijay’s peaceful life, when his film-crazy father lets a film crew shoot in his house for about 20 days for free but on the sole condition that he will get a meaty cameo in the film.
Naresh is an interesting character. The man, in his 50s, has conveniently quit his 30-long-year government job to follow his passion for films just days before the film crew came knocking on his door. It’s again unclear what was the government job he was doing, but he has built a massive bungalow, which looks right out of a Karan Johar movie. The man must have had a government job, whose pay matched the salaries of corporate CEOs. Or at least his father must have left behind a huge fortune in his name. Never mind. At the end of the film, we are left with a number of such unanswered questions.
Indraganti also uses this opportunity to take a meta-view of his industry. It is interesting that he tackles key issues facing the industry, including outdated film writing and sexual harassment at workplace. The timing cannot be more right as the menace of ‘casting couch’ in the Telugu film industry is a highly debated topic at present. “People assume when a girl joins the film industry, she is prepared to sleep with others,” this is an approximation of the monologue of Hari Teja’s character while ruing the prejudice women face in the film industry.
“Do you think that only the film industry is dirty?” argues Sameera Rathod (Aditi Rao Hydari) in a scene with Vijay, while defending her profession.
Indraganti has written some strong women characters in the film but fails to surprise us with Sameera. He presents her as a damsel in distress, who doesn’t stand up to her harassers. A role which is quite opposite to Leela, which Aditi played in Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai. Here she plays a woman, who is terrified to say no and waits for her knight to come and rescue her from her problems. She looks odd one out in a film filled with strong female roles. For example, Divya (Harshini) warns her brother Vijay not to interfere in her personal choices, when he stops her from going out with her boyfriend. “Don’t you dare,” she tells Vijay. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Sameer, a powerful and influential person, being clueless as to how to end an abusive relationship.
Sammohanam has its ‘magical’ moments, especially in the scenes where Vijay’s family try to lift each other up during their trying times. Aditi and Sudheer also strike an interesting chemistry. Look for their scene together on a rain-soaked terrace. But, the film falls short of rising above its own limitations. It is likely because of the weak spots in Sameera’s character.