Mollywood to Tollywood - 19: This dish was served cold to the Telugu audience
Prakash Raj has been a unique phenomenon in Indian cinema for nearly three decades with a steady level of popularity across the southern film industries, both for his acting prowess and also for his openly professed love for cinema in a wholesome manner of sorts.
Prakash Raj has been a unique phenomenon in Indian cinema for nearly three decades with a steady level of popularity across the southern film industries, both for his acting prowess and also for his openly professed love for cinema in a wholesome manner of sorts. For nearly a decade and more, he has been known for producing films in which he believes in for its content and the other plus points which made him invest his money and time into it. The romantic Malayalam comedy film ' Salt and Pepper', released in 2011, which made a lot of people notice it for front-loading food as its central theme was Prakash Raj's choice for presenting it in three languages at one go – Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. 'Ulavacharu Biryani' was its title in Telugu and it had Sneha and Urvashi as the other known names. Ilaiyaraja was the music director for the film.
A simple narrative which blended love for food and the consequences of misunderstandings and miscommunication between two couples, one young and the other old was considered entertaining enough. After having missed casting Tabu in the role that Sneha played later, Prakash Raj must have felt he had a winner in his hands as the Malayalam film was appreciated for ushering in a new wave in the local cinema industry. His hopes were not entirely misplaced as the Kannada version appealed to the audience while the Telugu and Tamil reprisals failed to click. The reviews were amply clear in why they thought the film did not work. A leading Hyderabad daily said: "Prakash Raj has chosen a good subject, which has a great blend of romance, relationship and food. The problem with the film, however, is slow narration and it drags a bit...At best, Ulavacharu Biryani is a good "time pass" film". The film website 123 Telugu wrote, "On the whole, Ulavacharu Biryani has its moments of class and uniqueness. But the entire second half, and some flavourless pace spoils the fun".
Yet another English newspaper had this to say: 'What could have ideally been a heart-warming romance ends up as an unintended comedy of errors...One does get the impression that an important ingredient is missing in this remake that seems to have lost some of its original magic as the filmmaker tried to tailor it to the Telugu palette".
The news portal Sify wrote, "Though this film has all the right ingredients, the recipe (read storyline) is not good enough. A better preparation would have made a lot of difference. With performers like Prakash Raj and Sneha, and music by Ilayaraja, this film doesn't pass muster".