In the late 80s, Ketan Mehta created a popular social-comedy TV serial Mr Yogi, based on a Gujarati novel featuring Mohan Gokhale in the lead. The story revolved around an NRI (they used to say ‘foreign returned’ in those days), who meets several girls for his marriage, keeping their zodiac signs in mind, and goes through hilarious experiences. Mr Yogi is still remembered as one of the most popular Doordarshan serials of the 80s.
Decades later, writer-actor-director Ashutosh Gowariker made a romantic comedy What’s Your Raashee? in 2009, based on the same novel featuring Harman Baweja and Priyanka Chopra in the lead. The film didn’t receive any appreciation from the viewers and had an unbearable length of around 210 minutes, which remained the key reason for its box office failure.
The new Telugu romantic comedy Most Eligible Bachelor once again follows the same theme of Mr Yogi in a distinctive form. Directed by Bommarillu Baskar, here also we have a young NRI visiting India in search of his life partner, meeting several prospective brides in a brief span. But a weird twist in the script is that both the boy and his family have already made all the arrangements for the wedding without even short-listing the bride and getting approval from her family.
This one hard-to-believe twist remains the sole reason the film never appears to be a relatable love story despite having a charming lead pair, a few funny scenes, and some above-average songs. It’s also a technically rich film with pleasing cinematography and a likeable beginning which sadly gets followed by nothing great to praise.
Apart from the subject falling flat because of its conceptual absurdities, the writing also falters, lacking the much-required emotional depth and imagination. At times, it gets preachy and repetitive, simply losing the grip in the second half.
Even the lovely Pooja Hegde appears to be struggling in her opening scenes. The girl is portrayed as a sharp stand-up comic, but not even one joke she cracks makes you laugh in her stage show sequences. Akhil Akkineni adds to the charm as the NRI bachelor, and the supporting cast is fine, led by Murali Sharma as the girl’s father.
In short, Most Eligible Bachelor doesn’t turn out to be anything exciting as a romantic comedy, and the only excitement it offers is the lovely presence of Pooja. So, you can watch the film for her without expecting much from its on-screen execution, wasting a potential theme.
Title: Most Eligible Bachelor (Telugu)
Cast: Pooja Hegde, Akhil Akkineni
Director: Bommarillu Baskar
Rating: 2.5 stars
Streaming on Netflix