Kalyan Ram in three avatars in the Telugu film ‘Amigos’
In the first few minutes of debut writer-director Rajendra Reddy’s Telugu film Amigos, Siddharth (Kalyan Ram) tells his family members, who are looking for a suitable marriage alliance for him, that he wants to meet a girl who will interest him. He uses the word ‘interesting’ a few times. This word can be used depending on the application. Amigos as well as. Imagine meeting not one but two lookalikes or doppelgangers and their friendly encounters take a sinister turn when one of them reveals his nefarious intentions. What sounds like an interesting idea doesn’t translate into an entertaining and engaging narrative.
Amigos Right from the title credits, viewers are introduced to the idea of doppelgangers, by showing how one can search for lookalikes using an online database. References to Shah Rukh Khan, Virat Kohli, Alia Bhatt and Trisha’s lookalikes as well as news clippings about people seen around the world are peppered across the screen.
Cast: Kalyan Ram, Ashika Ranganath, Brahmaji
Direction: Rajendra Reddy
In this story, the concept of doppelgangers is introduced through a random incident in a pub. Earlier, the director establishes some of Siddharth’s traits, family ties and a certain food allergy. When Siddharth meets his doppelgangers – a soft-spoken Manjunath Hegde from Karnataka who speaks a mix of Kannada and Telugu, and a deep-throated Michael who tries to hide his nefarious intentions – some more unique physical attributes and behaviors. Come forward.
Playing three roles for the first time, Kalyan Ram moved from the typical Siddharth to the timid and good-natured Manjunath to the mysterious and dark Michael. The pace of the story is predictable and we know that soon, the three men will look like photocopies and one of them will end his nefarious plans.
Before all this, a lamely written romance unfolds between Siddharth and Aashika (Aashika Ranganathan). Their meetings are cute but quite silly. Ishika wants her man to be super energetic throughout the day — run around the Durgam Chirove Park three times without getting tired, do all the chores he has and so on… In short, she’d find Chitty Robot. Is. ; The three doppelgangers think it’s fun to take turns tricking him. The weak romance makes it difficult to sympathize with both Ashika and Siddharth later in the film.
When Michael’s mask comes off, the story gets a bit interesting. A terror angle and a group of NIA officers are introduced, looking very lost. To give the audience an idea of how bad Michael is, phrases and lines that compare him to Pablo Escobar or call him a ‘merchant of death’ are used.
Michael is portrayed as a shrewd gun dealer who doesn’t flinch before going on a killing spree. He says he doesn’t mind selling guns to foreigners if they pay him! OK then.
The impersonation in the last hour and the hidden threat to Siddharth’s family members lend themselves to some engaging segments. However, the rest of the film doesn’t go beyond its predictable tropes and the climax is a drag. There is a sporadic laugh on Brahmaji’s part. Even the remix of Alaiyaraja’s ‘Enu Ratrulostoy Gaani’ doesn’t help after a point.
Kalyan Ram tries to push the action, but if the writing was better, it could have been a great thriller drama. Gibran’s soundtrack adds some drama but ultimately, Amigos Ends up as an interesting idea that doesn’t end.
(Amigos (currently playing in theaters)