`Avvakai Biryani` - spicy and racy (IANS Film Review)
For the uninitiated - Avvakai means an extremely hot pickle
The tastiest Biryani - a non-vegetarian spicy rice dish with diced meat whose
name is derived from classic Persian - available south of the Vindhyas is
believed to be that made in Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. It is prepared
throughout India and even in the Middle-East.
Hyderabad, borders Telangana, which is the backdrop of the movie and a national
political flashpoint since the linguistic division of states in the fifties.
Yet, director Kuruvilla avoids the political clichés and sermonising
soliloquies that one usually associates with modern-day films featuring
inter-religious love affairs (a la Bombay of Mani Ratnam) and dishes
out an aesthetically yummy pickled dish.
The main protagonist Akbar (Kamal), who drives a three-wheeler owned by a taxing
employer (Rao Ramesh) for a living, falls for a Hindu
pickle-seller-cum-restaurateur Lakshmi (Bindu) like a tonne of bricks to the
chagrin of a bigoted Muslim Babar (Varun) whose villainy stems from his
yearnings for the belle.
After several tense, racy sequences that etch the differences between the two
communities yet to trust each other despite having lived together for over 500
years and a simple but thought-provoking climax, the movie succeeds in subtly
extolling the virtue of the live-and-let-live dictum so necessary in today`s
The names - Babar and Akbar - represent two different generations in the Mughal
dynasty signifying relative intolerance and benevolent secularism, respectively,
and fit the tale to a T because of the modern idiom of storytelling.
Kamal and Bindu - both debutants - have acquitted themselves in a praiseworthy
manner to the spirited direction by Anish.
A southern proverb has it that a tiger`s offspring will never turn out to be a
mewing cat. Music director Manikanth, son of celebrated south Indian classical
saxophone player Kadri Gopalnath, lives this dictum by creating the apt tonal
atmosphere through his songs most of which form the background helping the flow
of the story.
Cinematography by Shyam paints the bleak rustic landscape of Telangana in
The only jarring notes in this lovable fable-like narration are the steamy