Story: Abhi (Rahul Vijay) is all set to be engaged to Pooja (Perlene Bhesania), a girl he’s slowly falling for. But in walks into his life his ex-girlfriend Suryakantham (Niharika Konidela) like the hurricane that she is. Stuck between both, Abhi struggles to find some way to resolve the situation peacefully.

Review: Picture this – two individuals are in love but one of them is commitment phobic and decides to run away from the situation instead of facing it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t love, because it is. Said individual also decides to walk back into the life of the person they left behind at the worst time possible, causing issues but refusing to give up. Sounds like a million other rom-coms you’ve seen before? That is what the tale of Suryakantham is all about.

How about this? There’s a mass song coupled with a desi dance in lieu of an intro scene, a motor-mouth who isn’t afraid of hitting up people, a loving mother looking to see her child settled, said child stubborn of doing anything but that and instead, choosing to kill everyone with sarcasm. Doesn’t it bring to mind a million intro scenes of every star hero to ever exist in TFI? Here’s where Suryakantham sets itself apart, from giving all of the above and more to its female lead – Niharika Konidela – instead of Rahul Vijay.

Suryakantham is a film that has a lot of potential but fails to live up to it. What could have been a wacky tale about a bohemian girl coming to terms with her straight-laced ex-boyfriend getting married to someone else turns into a triangular love story filled with melodrama as the film progresses. The first half of the film, which takes its own sweet time setting up the characters of Abhi and Pooja and the relationship between them, soon turns into a humorous tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously once Suryakantham enters the scenario. The interval bang also promises for more to come and despite the convenient plot points director Pranith employs to move the story forward, one doesn’t really mind much.

It is the second half where things really begin to go downhill. Filled with unnecessary hijinks, conversations and dragged on scenes, not to mention the songs, Suryakantham falters at finding its tone and the manner in which the story needs to move forward. By the time the climax rolls around, you really seem to not care where this is going and who Abhi ends up with. The 2-hour long run-time too seems longer than it is, this definitely could’ve been a shorter film.

The good news is, Niharika is a revelation as Suryakantham, a character that is a refreshing change from the kinds of damsel-in-distresses TFI usually seems to offer. Her character remains consistently inconsistent and unpredictable from start to finish, and you almost fall in love with her by the end, despite her annoying quirks. This also seems like the first time ever Niharika plays her age on-screen. Rahul Vijay as Abhi seems to have improved from his previous film and brings honesty to his character. Perlene as Pooja is surprisingly good, holding her own in this madcap tale. If only Pranith paid as much attention to the story and the plot points too as he did to the characters, because how he moves the story forward is nowhere near as interesting as these characters are. Better luck next time!