Overly long Indian romance that's more bollywood than true romance.
Director: Bharat Kamma
Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Rashmika Mandanna
Runtime: 2 hr 49 min
By: John DeSando
Dear Comrade is an Indian romance surrounding a headstrong comrade (one who fights for a social-justice cause, not necessarily a communist), Bobby (Vijay Deverakonda), and his paradoxically independent/ dependent love, Lilly. With touches of Bollywood’s optimism, exuberant singing, and dancing, this actioner at times also could remind about West Side Story, though it lacks anything close to the nuance and artistry of that classic.
As the principals finally get together and split again, more than once, the almost three hours is fortunate to have such comely, charming actors to offset the enduring repetitions of fate. While it seems Lilly is intended to be an exemplar of the new Indian woman (she is a state cricketer, after all), who is not rushing into marriage (no sane woman would hook up with this angry cutie except in the last reel, when he, of course, is a new caring, feminist man).
Although Dear Comrade has issues like freedom of speech and rape awareness, these important themes are secondary to gang rivalry and the lovers spending too much time swooning over each other. If you’re a romantic, you might enjoy this drama; if you’re a realist, forget it and see Yesterday or Bohemian Rhapsody instead.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com