‘Bhamakalapam 2’ movie review: Priyamani Sharanya Pradeep amp up the fun

A welcomed anomaly graces Telugu cinema as the much-anticipated sequel ‘Bhamakalapam 2’ hits the streaming platform Aha, and viewers couldn’t be more thrilled to find that it surpasses its predecessor with marked improvements on all fronts. Despite the genuine efforts seen in the original, the sequel stands out for its more relaxed yet gripping storytelling—a fusion of crime, comedy, and culinary adventures expertly served up by director Abhimanyu Tadimeti.

At the forefront of this engaging concoction is Priyamani, whose portrayal of the central character Anupama is both captivating and seemingly effortless. She brings to life a housewife whose proclivity for gossip entangles her in a web of crime. Complementing Priyamani with impeccable comic timing is Sharanya Pradeep, whose delivery of deadpan one-liners leaves audiences in stitches.

Picking up from the conclusion of the first film, ‘Bhamakalapam 2′ sees Anupama, alongside her husband Mohan (played by Pradeep Rudra) and their son, leaving behind the sinister happenings at Gulmohar Apartments—a move symbolic of their intent to start afresh. Yet, the film slyly indicates that Anupama’s promise to keep out of trouble is, predictably, one she is destined to break.

Anupama’s resolve is initially strong—she steers clear of neighborhood scandals and focuses on her new endeavor, a hotel that gains success with relative ease. The narrative’s intentional omission of her daily business challenges hints at a larger scheme brewing beneath the surface.

Intrigue escalates with the introduction of new characters like the sophisticated Antony Lobo (Anuj Gurwara), CEO of a luxury hotel chain, and the ambitious actress Zubeida (Seerat Kapoor), with their lives entwining within a drug conspiracy alongside several others. Additionally, we meet a disgraced intelligence officer named Sadanand (Raghu Mukherjee), who becomes instrumental in driving the plot.

Transitioning from the middle-class setting of its forerunner, the sequel unfolds in a posh residential complex, commensurate with Anupama’s newfound status as a restaurateur. Crime in this sequel scales up accordingly, but the film keeps anchored in the essence of Anupama—her increased vigilance regarding her actions’ impact on her family and her invaluable cooking talents, now aimed at a national contest. Even as the film plays with stereotypes, particularly in mocking her driving abilities, it subverts expectations by cleverly utilizing this element in the narrative progression.

‘Bhamakalapam 2’ also demonstrates a meta-awareness of its storytelling. It acknowledges its protagonist as an individual who, despite seeing herself as an ordinary housewife, is persistently thrust into extraordinary situations. Injecting humor in the mundane—whether it’s choosing the perfect breakfast to serve or inadvertently allowing a phone to fall into dubious hands—the film occasionally revels in sitcom-esque elements. Yet it also transcends into a more thrilling genre, particularly during a heist sequence which calls for Anupama and Shilpa’s ingenuity, supported by a quirky ensemble cast.

As the heist unfolds, Priyamani exemplifies an acute focus, while Sharanya maintains the levity during tense moments. They form an efficient duo, facing dilemmas that range from quick money-making schemes to moral conundrums and, ultimately, self-preservation.

The strength of ‘Bhamakalapam 2’ lies in its understanding of limitations, creating a contained heist drama that maintains audience interest up to its later stages. However, it leaves a lingering thought that perhaps towards the end, the creative well might have begun to dry.

The supporting cast is well-selected, with Seerat Kapoor provided a robust character development, and others including Anuj Gurwara, Nanda Gopal, Rakesh Rachakonda, and Sundip Ved, making notable contributions within their limited roles.

As ‘Bhamakalapam 2’ wraps up, it teases the expansion of its universe in a potential third installment. The film asks us not to take it too seriously, much like Anupama does not with herself—a fitting approach for a feature that thrives in the domain of crime comedy. The final moments, while possibly divisive, suggest an interesting path forward for this distinguished film series.

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