Value Friends [Netflix] – Review in FilmTotaal
Director: Rajendra Reddy | Script: Rajendra Reddy | Cast: Nandamuri Kalyan Ram (Siddarth/Manjunath/Michael), Ashika Ranganath (Ishika), Brahmaji (Siddarth’s uncle), Nithin Prasanna (Charlie) ea | Time to play: 137 minutes | Year: 2023
Friends it’s a must-see for fans of heart-pounding action (think Malang). It may look like a Bollywood movie, but Friends is a Tollywood film, originally from the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where they speak Telugu. As RRR For example. Lead Nandamuri Kalyan Ram is a superstar there (and a half-brother to one of the leads). RRR). She takes on no less than three roles in the film, with visible pleasure.
The main character Siddarth falls in love with the scheming Ishika, who rejects all men because they never know the right answer to this question: when three men steal her phone, bag and necklace and each runs off in a different direction, what are you doing? Who are you chasing and what item are you returning? The Dutchman who now thinks: Emancipated woman, you go after your things, is wrong. Ishika wants something special from her future husband.
How does Siddarth do that? Of course, bringing in two lookalikes to fool things! Through a website that links people to his doppelgängers, Siddarth meets his unrelated counterparts Manjunath and Michael. Actor Kalyan Ram plays all three roles and convinces in each one. So much so that at a certain point it becomes unbelievable that Siddarth’s own family doesn’t see the differences.
Kalyan Ram goes wild and portrays an over-the-top supervillain without equal, befitting the genre. He visibly likes it, like Maite Perroni in triplicate in Mexican, for example. Triad. Surely it would not have been a profitable choice for an actor to play three roles, because for Friends it has been great.
Except for the silly title, which doesn’t seem to have been really thought of, it’s Friends cared for down to the last detail. Every shot is slick and embellished, right down to the credits. To portray the three lookalikes together, clever camera work was used rather than computer techniques. A smart choice because the interaction is absolutely seamless. In short, a technical tour de force, as befits the best Bollywood film, and therefore also the Tollywood film.
As perfect as the design is, the fight scenes are so unrealistic, not because of the cheap effects of course, but because of the intention that way. Bodies often fly through the air, and Kalyan Ram is not averse to doing his own stunts. The action is a mix of slow scenes that expand the story and slow motion, and then quick editing or augmentation with bombastic music. This creates a nicely paced, wonderfully compelling roller coaster.
The dialogue-heavy camerawork, combined with the deliberately unrealistic violence, is very reminiscent of old kung fu movies. The dubbing not always strong in Friends contributes to this in a comical way. Thankfully, despite the wrong feel this gives to the otherwise highly polished film, it’s not particularly disturbing. Sometimes it is not even noticeable, the action dominates the dialogue.
The violence is interrupted from time to time, for example by the obligatory video clip-like dance scene, again licked to perfection. Friends it’s especially for enthusiasts, especially those who can sink into that hype beautifully. Despite the long duration, the story remains gripping until the last second, making it Friends also suitable for couples, family or friends who are less familiar with Bollywood/Tollywood than their loved ones. So watch together.
Friends can be seen in Netflix.