In his debut film Ninnu Kori, director Shiva Nirvana explored the dynamic between a married woman and her ex-lover. In Majili, he told the tale of a heartbroken man who’s so stuck in the past, he cannot see the happiness that lies in front of him. And Kushi explores the tale of a couple who get what they want, only to realise, they might not be equipped for it.

Viplav (Vijay Deverakonda) is a BSNL employee who requests a posting to Kashmir because he has a Mani Ratnam fantasy to live out. He wants the snow-capped mountains, the beautiful locales, the AR Rahman music, heady romance, et al. Unfortunately, he gets a massive dose of reality once he gets there. Aradhya (Samantha Ruth Prabhu) happens to cross paths with him one fine day, and our man here falls heads-over-heels for the pretty girl. What follows is something you’ve seen a million times before. He doesn’t care who she is and where she’s from, he hopes his love (and stalking) will wear her down. And it does.

And here’s where the real issue begins. Viplav happens to be the son of renowned atheist Lenin Sathyam (Sachin Khedekar) while Aradhya is the daughter of conservative Chadarangam Srinivasa Rao (Murli Sharma), who happens to be Lenin’s arch nemesis. The couple believes their love can overcome their starkly different brought-ups, warring families and even something heartbreaking. But is just love enough to make a relationship work? Left on their own, do Viplav and Aradhya know how to get over their misunderstandings with nobody’s help?

To give credit where credit is due, Kushi is a breezy, feel-good film for the most part, ably aided by Hesham Abdul Wahab’s music. It’s not the most out-of-the-box love story when stripped down to its bones and is predictable to the boot. However, Vijay and Samantha do a good job of ensuring you care about what happens to them and their flailing marriage. Their chemistry feels effortless, even in the scenes where they can’t stand the sight of one another. Vijay seems to enjoy playing Viplav, a man-child with some growing up to do, while Samantha breezes her role as Aradhya, a woman who just wants to be happy. Vijay, in particular, seems in his element, pulling off the fight scenes and light-hearted ones with equal ease.

However, in this need to keep things breezy, Shiva doesn’t delve deep enough into something heartbreaking Viplav and Aradhya go through. The former doesn’t think it’s that serious while we’re never shown how the latter feels about the loss. When the cracks begin to form, it doesn’t even come up that maybe these two didn’t know each other well enough. The penultimate solution he finds for their issues, courtesy of Rohini and Jayaram’s characters, also feels on-the-nose and a little bit silly. Crisper editing and a little bit of magic instead of oddly written humour might have aided the film more. However, the climax brings it all together well.

At the end of it all, Kushi remains the kind of film that’ll entertain you, despite the draggy bits. Love triumphs above all else is a message all of us could use.


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