‘DJ Tillu’ movie review: Siddhu steals the show in this outlandish comic comedy

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Director Vimal Krishna leads a laugh riot populated by eccentric and morally ambiguous characters

DJ Tilli revisits the idea of ​​a “mass” film. There is a familiar formula that films targeting a large portion of the audience, called “mass” in Telugu film parlance, unfold. But then, the men and women who make up our cities do not fit into a pre-established mould. If the resounding success of 2021 Jathi Ratnalu immersed in the flavor of Jogipet on the outskirts of Hyderabad, DJ Tilli builds a fun ride centered on a wastrel from Malkajgiri to Secunderabad. Director Vimal Krishna, who shares the credits with lead actor Siddhu Jonnalagadda, ensures the narrative is packed with fun and crazy moments.

We get a sense of who Tillu is early on when his distraught father comments that his son is safer in the hospital, in a coma, than on the streets. Named and raised as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the son later goes by the name Tillu, sports colorful clothes and struts around pretending to be a DJ. He’s an authorized kid who doesn’t feel guilty for wasting his dad’s money but talks about wanting his “professional space” when his parents are invited to the same event where he’s at the turntable. Beneath all this self-created hype, there are small DJing opportunities that don’t even allow Tillu to get a haircut at a fancy salon; he tries in vain to make the hairdresser at the neighborhood salon understand about highlights and locks.

DJ Tilli

  • With: Siddhu Jonnalagadda, Neha Shetty
  • Directed by: Vimal Krishna
  • Music: Sricharan Pakala

When this waster, who thinks he’s clever, falls in love with Radhika (Neha Shetty), nothing is the same. Radhika is designed as a morally ambiguous character whose movements evoke distrust not only of Tillu, but also of us, the viewers. Is she the victim of affairs gone wrong, opportunistic, or a mix of the two? There is a corpse along the way and things are getting more and more complicated. Tillu is torn between his love for Radhika and desperate to get out of the situation.

The first hour is a riot, told with sharp humor and Tillu getting the best lines. It almost becomes a one-man show as Siddhu gives it his all to play the quirky, swag-owning character. He’s also a physically demanding character, where his body language adds to the fun. He does it without any inhibitions, without fear of looking silly in certain places.

Nothing Tillu says or does is there just for fun. The dance he does in front of an apartment complex, and casual conversations in scenes that seem to be randomly placed at the start, are all helpful in advancing the story.

When Radhika tells her to stop looking at her through the moral compass, she addresses everyone watching the movie. The story, while showing how glamorous women are seen as objects of lust, doesn’t judge her or give her a proper word. Neha Shetty pulls off this complex character well.

The crazy world of Tillu is accentuated by the vibrant music of Sricharan Pakala and Thaman, the almost psychedelic visual canvas of cinematographer Saiprakash Ummadisingu and the production design of Avinash Kolla. Among the supporting roles, Brahmaji and Prince Cecil mark the spirits. Several others like Kireeti and Pragati get their moments.

The pleasure fades in the last portions. It’s easy to see through the smokescreen of a central character and the turnaround comes as no surprise. A few questions also remain answered. However, the film redeems itself to some degree.

After Jathi Ratnalu, DJ Tilli could be another film in which the fun quotient works best with collective viewing in theaters. Tillu’s story is not over yet. The stage is set for a sequel.

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