A metafilm is a film in a film. The film ‘Jesse’ from Yem Maaya Chesave would be a metafilm made by the character Karthik. Many a Telugu film has taken the Meta way, sometimes consciously and mostly with the stars playing themselves and directors making cameos or attaching voiceovers.
Routine Love Story is Meta like the title suggests. It is one aspiring female director pitching a story about her college friends (Sundeep and Tanvi played by Sundeep Kishan and Regina Cassandra) to convince the NRI producer (Vennela Kishore) who wants a film with action, romance, comedy, family values…the complete package, the routine.
The novelty of the less used technique of narrative ends when the film cuts to the part being narrated, starting with the first day of college the film consciously goes through the slo-mo montage of the boy seeing the girl, stalking her around the campus, making friends, living it…being the routine urban boy of Telugu cinema. The audience smile to themselves about how clichéd we are and then they hope to move on to the next thing the makers of LBW have to offer. But, during the screenwriting sessions these guys probably went a little too Meta on themselves and ended up with a screenplay that strays little from the routine.
The film is a series of arguments with the same thing being said. Boy: “I Want You”. Girl: “I don’t know you well enough”. The conflict seems resolvable 30 minutes into the film and instead it takes you round and round routine scenarios. And when the characters are in no real worry themselves, who are we to get involved and feel for them.
The film’s got a few decent laughs and camera work that’s experimental for where we are, but, the mild nature of its characters it makes it seem much longer than its 2 hour running time.
Sundeep Kishan helps hold the interest for a while, but, nobody looks good going around in circles.
Watch it soon if you have to, while there are still packed theatres with a sunshine audience that laugh at all suggested jokes. You wouldn’t find it funny alone.