Ravi (Santosh Shobhan) is poor but his thinking is rich. His mental capacities have been enriched by literature, both Telugu and English. Dharani (Riya Suman) is the daughter of Gadwal Reddy, a rich man who might have forgotten how much property he has. He is that rich.
In a typical poor boy-meets-rich girl story, they meet, they fall in love, they have a slight argument (so that there is a tense interval bang), they patch up again, they kiss.
What happens next is the crux of the story. Will their class differences affect their love story? If not, what else does? If yes, how does it happen? Who is Megha (Tanya Hope), a diseased girl who will die young? Answers to these questions are found in the second half.
The problem with ‘Paper Boy’ is that director Jaya Shankar thinks polished appearance makes for a magical love story. But it doesn’t.
Unrealistic portrayal becomes the mainstay of this film after some decent intro scenes. So, when the paperboy (the hero) scribbles on a newspaper, our heroine becomes curious instead of turning furious. Because she is good, that’s why. She discovers that the paperboy is telling her some message by underlining words selectively. She understands that he likes her. Next day, she asks him about the creative scribbling. He glamorously says it’s his feeling towards her. Voila! She almost puts that I-like-him-because-he-is-so-poetic expression on her face.
Then she goes to a library. The local librarian (Nagineedu) tells her about the one and only youngster in the colony who reads literature with great interest. The guy is our hero. She likes him even more now. Moments later, we find her gleefully telling herself that his ideology and her ideology is the same. Whatever.
One fine day, her luxury car breaks down in the middle of the road. No prizes for guessing that our hero is coming towards her in an auto (the paperboy’s father is an auto driver, who falls sick exactly on the same day as the heroine needs a lift after her luxury car breaks down. Amen!). “I will come to any distance for you, let alone Medchal,” he tells her. She smiles gloriously. The auto too breaks down after a while. Someone who will readily lend his bike to our hero is around. She pillion rides. Speed bumps happen. She lays her arms on him beautifully.
The above scenes only go to show how our writers have been presenting love stories involving a rich girl and poor boy in a hackneyed way. The poor guy is a paragon of virtues. “Nobody I have met in my life is as good as him,” she tells her parents. Not even at IIT Kharagpur where she studied. Amen!
The comedy track involving the hero and his friends (among them a jaded Mahesh Vitta who woos a Kirana girl, the ‘RX 100’ sidekick who sings folk songs) is poorly written. Bittiri Satti does parody and his action scene outside Gokul theatre is ill placed. Vidyullekha Raman is seen in a stereotypical role; her father is a food inspector and she is food-obsessed.
The suspense over Tanya Hope’s character proves to be an unworthy one. Her presence in the story makes no much difference.
The climax was supposed to be exalting, but all that you get is a dose of predictable, glossy fare.
Sampath Nandi’s dialogues are interesting, at least here and there. ‘Abbayilu nacchithene premistharu, ammayilu nammithene premistharu,’ so goes an insightful line. Some scenes are decent, like the one where the marriage registration scene involving the lead pair and two other characters. Class differences are portrayed with realistic sensibilities. For example, the scene where the hero’s parents grudgingly sit on the sofa at the rich girl’s house.
The lead pair are engaging to watch. Although Santosh Shobhan looks way too fashionable for a paperboy, he is largely convincing. His dialogue delivery needs improvement, though. Riya Suman shows grace and has a decent screen presence. Soundararajan’s cinematography is rich. The Alleppey segment, albeit brief, is beautifully shot. Bheem’s songs and lilting BGM are a plus.
Bottomline: ‘Paper Boy’ is a typical love story with some attempt to be different. Sampath Nandi’s dialogues will have many takers. The visuals are stunning and there is poetic touch too. But time-tested story of a poor boy and rich girl has artificial sequences. The comedy falls flat. Watchable for its feel-good moments only.
Filmytrends Rating : 2.5