Dear Comrade: A roller-coaster of emotions

When the trailer of Dear Comrade was out, it had evoked a sense of déjà vu among movie buffs. The protagonist seemingly had anger-management issues à la Vijay Deverakonda’s Arjun Reddy (2017). Thankfully, Dear Comrade and Arjun Reddy are as distinct as they could possibly be.

Dear Comrade narrates the tale of Bobby (Vijay Deverakonda), an impulsive and short-tempered student union leader based in Kakinada. Lilly (Rashmika Mandanna) is a state-level cricketer who has just moved in to her relatives’ house beside Bobby’s. The two meet, interact and eventually, Bobby starts developing feelings for Lilly. However, Lilly isn’t convinced about Bobby’s temperament, something she feels could be detrimental to their future together.

Even as Bobby tries to convince Lilly that his volatile behavior wouldn’t be a hindrance to their shared future, a series of events end up putting a divide so deep that tests the duo’s love, patience and loyalty in a way they could have never imagined. A roller-coaster ride of emotions follows in this tale of love and companionship, with the film peaking towards the pre-climax.

The best thing about Dear Comrade is that both the protagonists are given equal footage—something that’s not often the case in commercial films. While the film revolves around Bobby’s conflicts, Lilly also has her share of battles that are equally significant to the plot. Bharat Kamma needs to be lauded for his writing, as he fleshes out well-sketched characters and situations to take the film forward. The romance develops steadily and the conflicts are also depicted without any fabrication.

Despite having done a character with similar shades in Arjun Reddy, Deverakonda produces a performance that’s poles apart in all aspects. His seamlessly dives into the multiple shades that his character demands at various points and his screen presence is a massive plus. There are signs aplenty that Deverakonda is a constantly-evolving actor and this could easily be his career-best performance.

The same holds true for Rashmika Mandanna who surprises everyone pleasantly with her intense performance. Known for her spontaneity and for being easy on the eye, Mandanna gets a role that challenges the actor in her and she passes the test with flying colors. The chemistry between the lead pair is pivotal to the film and Kamma ensures that things stay within the bounds of realism.

Dear Comrade scores big time with its music. A film on love and emotions does require a decent album and Justin Prabhakaran deserves accolades for coming up with a creative soundtrack and background scores. And Bharat Kamma aces the dual roles of writer and director.

The only drawback could be the pacing, especially in the second half. However, for a script with so much content, it is probably warranted. Kamma takes his time in establishing the plot and the characters. As a realistic romantic drama, there are shades of similarities with Gautham Menon’s Em Maya Chesave (Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya in Tamil), especially in the portrayal of the protagonists’ conflicts.

On the whole, Dear Comrade is a passionate tale of human emotions with a powerful message towards the back end. Keeping aside the sluggish nature of the narrative, it is worth a watch for the stupendous performances of the lead pair.

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