Review: ‘19 Revolutions’

"A different desi film" is the tag for writer-director Sridhar Reddy's feature bow "19 Revolutions," and indeed this attempted contempo Indian spin on 1960s Marx-and-Coca-Cola radicalism earns points for offbeat enterprise. But Robin Hood fantasy emerges as awkward, naive, hokey, overslick and way too yakkety.

“A different desi film” is the tag for writer-director Sridhar Reddy’s feature bow “19 Revolutions,” and indeed this attempted contempo Indian spin on 1960s Marx-and-Coca-Cola radicalism earns points for offbeat enterprise. But Robin Hood fantasy of rich kids “liberating” ill-gained wealth to benefit the underclasses emerges as awkward, naive, hokey, overslick and way too yakkety. English-lingo fest curio is a commercial longshot most likely to win converts in home formats.

Brash, preening Guru (Tarun Arora) is a disillusioned son of privilege who amuses himself by strong-arming vendors into feeding the poor for free after hours. (His excessive zeal at thrashing these capitalist middlemen renders the idealism suspect.) Impressed when tables are turned by brawny coffee shop attendant Nezar (Vishwaa), Guru drags the struggling college student to an uptown party where he’s thrilled to be introduced to gorgeous cafe patron Shireen (Sriya Reddy). Trio spend hours debating politics before hitting on a cockeyed robbery scheme sure to go wrong. Mix of glam leads, polemical talk and melodramatic implausibility creates radical-chic silliness too seldom raisedby the Godardian pranksterism of the film’s best seg: A blithe, delightful dance number that emerges from nowhere.

19 Revolutions

India - U.S.

Production

An IMAC Arts production. Produced by Sridhar Reddy, Radhakrishna Dhamavarapu Reddy. Executive producer, Viren Thambidorai. Directed, written by Sridhar Reddy.

Crew

Camera (color), Ajayan Vincent; editor, Sreekar Prasad; music, Reddy; production designer, Josh Media. Reviewed at Cinequest, San Jose, March 7, 2005. English dialogue. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Tarun Arora, Sriya Reddy, Vishwaa Raj.
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