Review: ‘Pareshan,’ starring Thiruveer, Pavani Karanam, Bunny Abhiran, Sai Prasanna, Arjun Krishna, Raju Bedigela and Ravi

June 11, 2023

by Carla Hay

Pictured clockwise, from left: Thiruveer, Bunny Abhira, Raju Bedigela, Arjun Krishna, Balaji, Anji and Ravi in “Pareshan” (Photo courtesy of Annapurna Studios)

“Pareshan”

Directed by Rupak Ronaldson

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed city in India, the comedy/drama film “Pareshan” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: An unemployed, college dropout spends his days and nights partying with his friends and getting into various mishaps, while his parents and girlfriend want him to live a more mature and responsible life.

Culture Audience: “Pareshan” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching a repetitive movie that consists of a lot of people yelling and fighting with each other, with no real purpose to the story.

Pavani Karanam and Thiruveer in “Pareshan” (Photo courtesy of Annapurna Studios)

“Pareshan” is a badly edited mess of a film that has more screaming and crying from adults than a nursery full of hungry babies. There’s too much of this time-wasting comedy/drama that is absolutely pointless. The only thing that might be more miserable than the characters in this long-winded, 131-minute film is the dreadful experience of having to watch “Pareshan” until the very end.

Written and directed by Rupak Ronaldson, “Pareshan” has no real plot. It’s just a series of scenes showing the shenanigans and conflicts of a group of five young men who are best friends in an unnamed city in India. The movie’s main protagonist is Isaac (played by Thiruveer), an unemployed, college dropout who lives with his parents. Isaac’s four closest pals are Pasha (played by Bunny Abhira), Aagam Sathi (played by Arjun Krishna), Maidak (played by Raju Bedigela) and Balaji, nicknamed RGV (played by Ravi), who all gave the same main interest as Isaac: getting drunk and partying.

Isaac’s parents (played by Muralidhar Goud and Padma) and his girlfriend Shireesha (played by Pavani Karanam) are unhappy that he is living such an aimless life and want him to clean up his act and live more responsibly. Isaac just thinks that they are being nags. Expect to see Shireesha do a lot of crying and whining, since that seems to be the main purpose of this character, who is desperate to settle down and get married. Somehow, Shireesha thinks that Isaac will magically turn into the suitable husband that she wants if she just loves him enough. It’s a pathetic cliché.

Isaac and his friends live in a city where the government-run coal company Singareni Collieries is a major employer in the area. His parents encourage Isaac to get a job at the local Singareni Collieries coal mine, but Isaac doesn’t show much interest in finding a job, especially a job that requires grueling manual labor. There’s much stalemate arguing back and forth between Isaac and his parents. It all quickly becomes tiresome to watch.

Meanwhile, Sathi (who has a chubby body size) is berated by his girlfriend Rajitha (played by Sai Prasanna) about his body size. She expects him to lose weight in order for Sathi to be considered “worthy” of her love. “Pareshan” accepts this horrible and shallow attitude as perfectly acceptable, when any adult with healthy self-esteem would walk away from a partner who makes this superficial demand.

Sathi dutifully goes to a gym to try and lose weight. Later, he gets into trouble with a local thug named Rakesh Master (played by Sai Kiran) over an unpaid debt. Sathi’s other four friends get dragged into this mess, which leads to a lot of tedious fight scenes and chase scenes. Sathi is the biggest male crybaby of the five pals. Instead of being with Rajitha, maybe he should have been with chronically tearful Shireesha, and they could have self-pitying cryfests together.

Isaac and his friends have another friend named Tiger Seenu (played by Anji), who gets married at one point. The wedding is just another excuse for the movie to show people getting drunk and acting stupidly. Isaac and his friends don’t have cars and get around mainly by scooters or motorbikes. Tiger has a car though. Isaac, Maidak, RGV and Pasha borrow the car to go on a road trip, which is another poorly conceived part of the movie.

The last third of “Pareshan” becomes particularly annoying with several physical and verbal fights over some missing money. The physical abuse in “Pareshan” is constant, with people slapping and punching each other for the slightest of reasons. The movie’s tone is that all of this abuse is supposed to be hilarious to watch. It’s not. There’s nothing impressive about the movie’s acting performances either. “Pareshan” is essentially an irritating showcase of empty characters and an even emptier story.

Annapurna Studios released “Pareshan” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on June 2, 2023.

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