Cast: Adith Arun, Hebah Patel, Aditi Myakal, Rao Ramesh and V.K. Naresh
Director: Ayodhya Kumar
Coming in the backdrop of the controversy over kissing scenes in films like Arjun Reddy and RX 100, director Ayodhya Kumar’s 24 Kisses attracts attention for its title. Hebah Patel and Adith Arun are the lead pair in the film directed by Ayodhya Kumar who had won many awards for his debut film Minugurulu.
Director Anand (Arun) is a struggling children’s filmmaker with whom his student Sri Lakshmi (Hebah Patel) falls in love. Anand is against marriage but has a few affairs. Anand kisses Lakshmi in a creative project, and she thinks he is in love with her. She later learns about his anti-marriage stand and moves away, setting the stage for the rest of the story.
The deft touch that Ayodhya Kumar displayed with the emotional Minugurulu, where he handled visually challenged kids, is missing in 24 Kisses. The story runs on two tracks — one of a student in love with her teacher and the other of malnourished children and their problems. In between, the director concentrates mostly on the lead pair smooching.
The story starts with the protagonist talking to a white wall at a psychologist’s office, narrating his love stories. He doesn’t believe in marriage and having a family for a reason but that is not enunciated clearly.
The first half is devoted with the lead pair kissing and the girl going home and surfing the Internet to find out the meaning of those kisses on different locations like the neck and ear. The girl wants to kiss her lover 24 times, because a book tells her that it leads to marriage.
Interspersed in this rose-tinted world are malnourished children and their suffering. The film ends almost like a documentary about confusion. Adith Arun delivers a honest performance as a youth confused about marriage, love and children. Hebah Patel spends most of her screen time kissing, and the character is not designed well. The chemistry works between the two, but there is no emotion. Cinematography is nicely done but the music is not up to the mark in what could be one of the badly made movies of the year....