Tanu Vachchenanta - Movie Review

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 23:30
Tanu Vachchenanta (2016)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Tanu Vachchenanta
Cast: Rashmi Gautham, Dhanya Balakrishnan, Teja Kakumanu, Chalaki Chanti, Fish Venkat, Sivannarayana and others
Camera: Raj Kumar Editing: Garry
Art: S Sharma
Music: Ravi Chandra
Background score: Sasi Preetam
Lyrics: Challa Bhagyalakshmi
Banner: Achyuth Arts
Produced by: Chandrasekhar Azad Patibandla
Directed by: Venkat Kacharla
Release date: October 21, 2016


Teja (Teja Kakumanu) crosses paths with childhood friend (Chalaki Chanti) when he is about to commit suicide. We are taken into his weird flashback. Shruti (Rashmi Gautam) married Teja because her late father had willed it that she won't inherit the property in case she doesn't live with him for at least five years. Having married him reluctantly, Shruti and her arrogant mom harass him, reduce him to the status of a servant, and humiliate him to a comic effect.  

Upon the friend's prompting, Teja conspires to paralyze the pestering mother-in-law, hoping to convince his wife to make peace with him. But the plan goes absolutely wrong when Shruti gets electrocuted. At a time when Teja plans to open a fresh page in his life with Swetha (Dhanya Balakrishna as his college-time sweetheart), Shruti returns as a zombie, pining for Teja.  

The rest of the film is about how Teja, once a henpecked husband and now a misunderstood lover, has a tough time grappling with the zombie-wife and managing to keep the lover girl in his fold.  


'Tanu Vachenanta' is not a regular horror-comedy.  It belongs to the genre of zombie movie. The Telugu audience don't have a proper grounding in this genre. For that matter, this is not a popular genre in India. Thus, right from the word go, the director had a challenging task at hand.  

The film begins with a humorous scene around a dead body and the scene is an excuse to teach the audience about zombies. Chalaki Chanti as a burial service-provider is quirky as he has named it Heaven Travels, and has on offer a range of packages for the dead. Teja pours out his heart and joins hands with him to get rid of his mother-in-law. We see more of madcap humor than zombie genre elements here. 

The director doesn't come out of the comic hangover easily for the second half. The expressions, the language, the mood (as projected by the music, cinematography, etc) don't suggest that something serious is transpiring in the hero's life. As the zombie-wife gets more and more stubborn, Teja gets less and less serious even though his troubles multiply. This is a serious flaw of the second half. The zombie is reduced to a less unique creature as she turns into a normal party-loving lady for a club song.  Creative liberty?  It's too much.  

If the intention was to project a surreal mood, the same goes for a toss when madcap humour over-asserts itself.  If a character is foolhardy enough to provoke a zombie, so be it. But can it be executed in such a way that there is no sense of urgency or fear?  

After a point, Rashmi Gautam's characterization goes down the slippery slope. One feels this is just a '90s-era love triangle with the 'savathi' returning as a zombie for namesake.  She is entirely human-like. Nothing wrong in having a benevolent, controlled and even aesthetic zombie.  But if the idea was to create yet another parody-filled climax ('Nannaku Prematho' in the main), what is the point?  The climax involving all the main cast members, 'Amrutham' Sivannarayana, Fish Venkat and others is downright ridiculous.   

To be fair to the makers, the madcap humour in the first half comes with its share of laughs. Lines like 'Ee prapanchamane palla thota lo manan sapotalam' are good.  The verbal abuse of the hero by the wife-aunt duo is another interesting idea bringing back the nostalgia of old-time movies. The love track involving Teja and Dhanya is so-so. The performances of the lead actors, not to forget Chanti, are good. Rashmi has failed to impress in this role. Moreover, her films are being advertised with revealing poses but the content is turning out to be completely different from what is publicised. 

The cinematography, the music and the BGM are mediocre. The director has picked up a genre that is alien to Telugu audiences but he is weak in narrative skills. 

Bottomline:'Tanu Vachchenanta' is a zombie-comedy that is treated like routine Telugu masala horror movie. The zombie gets boring after a point, the oddball wit goes for a toss, and the climax comes a cropper.

Reviewed by: 
Vishwanath V