World Famous Lover movie review: Vijay Deverakonda is in his element here as a bleeding, wailing and reckless lover.
World Famous Lover movie cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Raashi Khanna, Aishwarya Rajessh
World Famous Lover director: Kranthi Madhav
World Famous Lover ratings: 3 stars
Writing is a lonely job. And if you aspire to write one of the greatest fiction books of the 21st century, it may be the loneliest job ever, which may also deprive you of the sense of reality, making you oblivious to the pain of your loved ones. Gautham (Vijay Deverakonda) was not ready for the sacrifices that he would have to make should he follow his passion. He saw an opportunity to quit his well-paying 9-5 job, and he took it without thinking twice. He stayed home trying to beat his writer's block and author a book that moves people and speaks directly to their souls. His wife Yamini (Raashi Khanna) picked up the responsibility of running the house, thanks to her high-paying job.
Gautham sleeps in super late. He doesn't care to bath or eat healthily. He sits in front of his writing pad for a few minutes, gives up and ends up on the couch watching cartoon shows on television. While he is at it, he dozes off. When Yamini comes home from work, he cleans himself up. Still stuck in his own world, Gautham forgets to ask Yamini about her day. He eats, makes love to her and sleeps. And then, he repeats.
Gautham is so busy wallowing in his own inability to write that he finds it almost impossible to realise his passion. He lacks discipline. He has become lazy and has fallen into a bad lifestyle. He is hurting Yamini, and he doesn't even know it. And then the obvious happens - Yamini breaks up with him. The jolt wakes him up from the deep slumber and inspires him to write. He writes from a place of pain. His wishful fantasies guide him through the first chapters of his novel - The World Famous Lover.
Gautham's wishful fantasies are deeply flawed. He wishes that he was not born in Hyderabad and did not go to a good college. Gautham also wishes he never met a girl like Yamini, who represents a self-reliant, economically independent and strong woman.
Yamini's education and her social status inform her that she doesn't have to put up with Gautham's mistreatment. Gautham rather would have an uneducated and pathologically dependent woman, who has been hardwired to fear and favour everything her husband does. His wishes manifest into a character named Suvarna (Aishwarya Rajessh). She is just the opposite of Yamini. She is not educated, outspoken and more importantly, she doesn't have a fair skin tone like Yamini. Perhaps, Suvarna's skin colour is her biggest confidence killer.
Director-writer Kranthi Madhav treads a tricky path between being called out for playing up core tenets of a patriarchal society and receiving bouquets for experimenting with cliches. His protagonist Gautham places the foundation of a relationship between a man and a woman entirely on their physical compatibility. Everything is physical for Gautham, including love, heartbreak and pain. He can't mentally process an emotion unless he can physically feel it. And that's the reason why he ends up writing stories with classic archetype characters straight out of a man's lustful dreams. A sultry woman boss openly flirting with her subordinate. Or an adventure-junkie finding out that his neighbour is an attractive, single French woman who can speak Telugu.
"We are what we write," says Gautham. That line informs us why stories and characters that populate Gautham's world are extremely prejudiced men. And his constant throwbacks to the "sacrifices" he made for his love Yamani or the "sacrifices" of his characters for their women are riddled with narcissism, bias and the male gaze. For ages, our movies have majorly shown us one side of the story. Kranthi picks up all the cliches that exaggerate a man's role in holding a family together or protecting his loved ones, and turn them on their heads.
World Famous Lover is not a cheesy romantic story about a man hurting from inside and fighting to win back the love of his life. It is an indictment of the male gaze that fails to see the other side of the story: women.
If you find problems with the way Gautham fantasies about a "perfect" housewife or what his idea of "world-famous lover" is, you are not wrong. But, just hold your horses for a bit longer. It is because you are following the fantasies of a flawed, prejudiced and self-centered man. He will take some time to realize what a pain in the a** he had been.
And yes, Vijay Deverakonda is in his element here as a bleeding, wailing and reckless lover.