This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Durga Punyamurthula. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Sexist Bollywood Comedies Have A Lot To Learn From This Hilarious Telugu Film!

More from Durga Punyamurthula

Recently, I read an interview of Mohan Krishna Indraganti, who is one of the most promising directors in Telugu cinema today. He talked about his latest screwball comedy movie, “Ami Thumi“, which was released in theatres on June 9, 2017.

Telugu film director, Mohan Krishna Indraganti
Mohan Krishna Indraganti

In the interview, he also mentioned how he believes that comedy is a serious business. Having watched Indraganti’s earlier super-hit comedy movie, “Ashta Chamma” (2008), I reflected on what he said. I realised how significant the statement is, at this point of time in Indian cinema – when loud gimmicks and over-the-top acting masquerade as comedy, and turn out to become massive hits. I strongly feel that while a little exaggeration and gimmicks are necessary in films that claim to belong to the genre of comedy, they must not take centre-stage. In such cases, the humour is reduced to mere visual representations. Garish expressions, loud dialogues, and funny body movements become the sole defining elements of this kind of comedy.

Indraganti is one of the few directors who have managed to create a fine balance between the comedy that is layered with gimmicks and one that is subtle. Much like Jandhyala, the torch-bearer of some of the best comedy films ever produced in India, Indraganti also manages to evoke humour holistically by using a multitude of elements.

“Ami Thumi” is one such gem in the genre that will surely remain evergreen. Each scene is interspersed with some kind of humour – it lies either in the rib-tickling dialogues interspersed with jabs at current socio-political issues, the reactions of the characters, the sense of urgency that underlines the tone of the film, or simply in the background score by Mani Sharma that perfectly complements the many hilarious situations in the movie.

The plot of “Ami Thumi” is a riot. Janardhan’s (played by Tanikella Bharani) daughter Deepika (played by Eesha Rebba) and son Vijay (played by Srinivas Avasarala) are in love with people whom he does not approve of. Janardhan is money-minded and wants to marry his daughter off to someone else – in order to get rid of her lover, Ananth (played by Adivi Sesh), who he believes is not wealthy enough. On the other hand, Vijay is in love with Maya (played by Aditi Mykal), the daughter of Janardhan’s friend-turned-rival.

Enter Sri Chilipi (played by Vennela Kishore), who hails from an affluent family whose business is dwindling. His father wants him to marry a wealthy girl, but they have a family custom where the bride’s photo cannot be seen before the first official meeting of the couple. The rest of the story is about how Deepika intelligently plays around with her identity, capitalising on her tiff with her father, and using Sri Chilipi and his family customs to get her way.

Indraganti is known to borrow inspiration generously from literary works. In fact, his first film – the vastly-acclaimed “Grahanam” was based on a story written by the popular Telugu writer Chalam (Gudipati Venkatachalam). Similarly, “Ashta Chamma”, his first comedy film, was inspired by a play written by Oscar Wilde. “Ami Thumi” is no different – Indraganti mentioned that it is based on an English play written by the Irish playwright Richard Sheridan. It is this aesthetic literary quality that lies at the very base of his movies, and is amplified by his own terrific writing and sensibilities that is reflected in the finesse of his films.

Indraganti fully exploits the beauty of the Telugu language to bring out the humour by using dialogues involving a copious amount of word play. Every dialogue is pregnant with humour, and should not be missed by any account. It is also heartening to see the entire cast of the film take enunciation seriously . The bha, kha and gha are perfectly emphasised upon.

Mohan Krishna Indraganti's debut film, "Grahanam"
“Grahanam” film poster

Impressively enough, the Telangana dialect is increasingly being used by the central characters in the movies. This makes “Ami Thumi” all the more relatable. The characters in “Ami Thumi” are loud – and yet, none of it feels over-the-top. Indraganti creates a world around the characters and aligns it according to the clashes they have against each other.

Therefore, it is not surprising to see Janardhan alter the lyrics of Telugu songs to poke fun at his rival’s impending downfall, or break into a dance every time he is delighted about something. However, beneath all the wit and humour, the director questions how arranged marriages are being reduced to mere monetary deals between families, with no regard for the approval of the prospective brides and grooms involved. We understand Deepika’s and Sri Chilipi’s predicament in the movie, all too well!

Full credit should go to all the actors who have brought an amazing sense of restraint and sophistication in the execution of their roles. Amidst all this, Vennela Kishore steals the show with his portrayal of Sri Chilipi. He brings a certain innocence to the role and evokes laughter just through his body language and the small twitches in his facial expressions. Eesha Rebba, who essays the role of Deepika, is feisty, confident and shows off her acting chops effortlessly. It helps that the ensemble male cast, comprising of Tanikella Bharani, Adivi Sesh, Srinivas Avasarala and Vennela Kishore, have all directed films in the past. It comes as no surprise that they have all translated Indraganti’s vision successfully on the screen.

“Ami Thumi” is a fine example of artistic brilliance. It shows how the aesthetics of literature and cinema can be reconciled to create a classy, evergreen movie. The comedy flows smoothly and never feels forced in any scene. Directors in Telugu cinema today, need to pick actors who submit to the story rather than writing stories that merely serve as vehicles to showcase an actor’s talent. In this regard, “Ami Thumi” is proof that a good script and directorial brilliance automatically extract the best from the actors.

You must be to comment.

More from Durga Punyamurthula

Similar Posts

By Ali Qalandar

By Rachit Sharma

By Abhishek Karadkar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below