Writer-director: Sai Rajesh
Music: Vijay Buliganin
Cinematography: M. N. Balreddy
Editor: Viplav Nyashadam
Run time: 177 minutes
Cast: Anand Deverakonda, Vaishnavi Chaitanya, Viraj Ashwin, Naga Babu, Viva Harsha, Lirisha, Sathvik Anand, Babloo, Seetha, Mounika, Keerthana, and others
True love’ is a term that seems too far-fetched nowadays. Let alone achieving it, the very utterance of the word brings varied reactions from the present generation. Partly because of the access to speed dating apps and the contrast between different classes in society. India’s strength and weakness are its diversity. And the film Baby, starring Anand Deverakonda, Vaishnavi Chaitanya, and Viraj Ashwin, written and directed by Sai Rajesh, digs deep into the quintessential problem of modern-day romance.
Right off the bat, the film has a solid story. No doubt, but the graph of the film glides up and down and makes no qualms about its flaws. Baby succeeds in keeping our attention afloat throughout its long runtime of two hours and fifty-one minutes. Sai Rajesh’s heartfelt attempt at telling a tried and tested love triangle saga is more about circumstances than an individual’s innate nature.
Anand (Anand Deverakonda) fails his tenth standard and drives an auto for a living, and Vaishnavi (Vaishnavi Chaitanya) has bigger goals in life. Both belong to the same social strata: the poor. Unlike Anand, Vaishnavi clears her tenth grade and pursues higher studies at a top college. She likes the good things in life. In one scene, she says she likes high-rise buildings. Anything that has to do with grandiosity lures her, and so does Viraj (Viraj Ashwin), an uber-cool, suave, rich college-going stud.
Way before Viraj enters the picture, Anand and Vaishnavi are already in love. First love! What is supposed to be pure and sacred according to the conventional definition takes a massive turn as the story progresses. The film starts with Anand in an inebriated state. His present is as crumpled as his past. There’s no sign of a promising future for the guy.
Filmmaker Sai Rajesh spends the first thirty or so minutes taking us through Anand and Vaishnavi’s budding love story through montages supported by Vijay Bulganin’s soulful background score. The dullness of some dialogues in these portions is covered up by the amazing score and songs. Thanks to Vijay Bulganin’s soulful music, which is stuck in your brain even after you leave the movie hall, The story is so good, so vibrant, and so full of conflict that it keeps us hooked as it only gets better. You know what to expect, but you’re sitting in the theatre waiting for some kind of new treatment.
With each passing day at college, Vaishnavi turns more like her rich friends. From a poor tanned girl with an oily face and two firmly tied pigtails to an attractive, naive young teenager with bouncy curly hair and glowing skin Her idea of life changes. The phone that Anand gifts her by mortgaging his car is nothing but a dummy box in her view. Whereas the gifts that she receives from her college friends shape her into a different person altogether. You will see her metamorphosing into a character that you no longer empathise with. However, you’re still hanging in there because you know the end is near. Therefore, the curiosity factor is alive and kicking. Here, the director deserves a special applause for his writing. The dialogues and situations are so close to reality, something that youth generally talk about and discuss in their real lives. So the connectivity factor in the movie is bang on!
If there’s something that works like magic in this film, it is Vaishnavi Chaitanya’s smashing debut as Vaishnavi. Although she starts rough with Instagram-reel-like dialogues, the actor in her doesn’t let her fail. She’s perfect in every possible way. Anand Deverakonda’s performance is equally impressive. His innocent face goes well with the character. Viraj Ashwin, as the rich guy, pulls it off with ease. Charming yet pushy Let’s say he’s your girlfriend’s boy bestie.
Speaking of cinematography, M. N. Balreddy really pulls you into the film. The frames are not too cinematic. They’re perfect. He hit the sweet spot with this film. M. N. Balreddy allows us to experience the lives of these characters. Especially those of Anand and Vaishnavi. The interval bang drastically changes the arc of the characters, and you actually see the frame flipping upside down. The screen is horizontally split in half. Anand’s frame gradually makes a clockwise turn and moves to the bottom. While the frame featuring Vaishnavi occupies the top part. The shift in power dynamics is made clear with this technique. And a wonderful split-screen (Edited by Viplav Nyshadam) separating the frames with an insert of an important WhatsApp chat in the middle while the camera continues to take a 180-degree turn on each of the characters on either side of the chat. A lot went into it.
Baby is relatable and enjoyable. Overall, Sai Rajesh’s Baby is a decent film with a terrific story, a star performance by Vaishnavi Chaitanya and Anand, a lovely background score, and clean cinematography powered by buttery smooth editing.