Kanche: Film Review – A Refreshing Attempt at Something New

Verdict: An entertaining story, based on World War II.

Kanché (Fence) is a movie you least expected from Tollywood. A love story and a war story with a strong social message; this offering from Krish (Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi) is different.

What starts out as a story of love blossoming between two young Telugu-speaking individuals in pre-Independence Madras, quickly escalates into a war between the castes and an eventual battle that brings two unlikely enemies together.

The narrative slices between episodes in Devarakonda (an erstwhile feudal state somewhere in Telangana) and a war between the allies (Indians participating) and Germany in Italy. Seethamma Devi (Pragya Jaiswal) is a young princess, heir to the Devarakonda throne, studying in Madras. Incidentally, Dhoopati Hari Babu (Varun Tej), a barber’s son from the same fiefdom also studies in the same college. They meet, fall in love and the story begins there.

Enter Eshwar Prasad (Nikitin Dheer), Seethamma’s relative, who also looks out for her like a younger sister (though they might only be a few years apart). Eshwar is already working with the armed forces under the British, who still rule India. Eshwar inspires Hari Babu to enter the army, but soon they become enemies as Eshwar feels his caste pride is threatened by Seethamma’s love for Hari.

Eshwar and Hari also end up in the same battalion fighting the Germans in Italy. Several war scenes later, they make peace with each other. How? Watch the movie to find out.

The movie is entertaining, there’s no doubt about that (if you ignore the hilarious war sequences). The songs are lovely and most of the other scenes are quite convincing. What ticks you off, however, are some scenes that make no sense. We expected a director like Krish to not have scenes such as the bonding between Indian soldiers during wartime in Italy, where they’re all speaking in Telugu. This, after it has already been established that all the Indian soldiers in that battalion are not Telugu! Or the fact that while Georgia is a great country to shoot in, the landscapes are not similar to Italy and nor are the languages spoken in many of the scenes.

If one is making a war movie based on World War II, we wonder how so much can be taken for granted. Unless the idea was to only show the movie to an audience that wouldn’t know better? Frankly, the scenes in Devarakonda are better made and more believable, that is, if you ignore the atrocious costuming and music. Some of the songs just do not seem like they would have been sung in the 1940s, while we can swear that fishnet was not used as a material for langas (skirts) in that period. The film would have been infinitely better if it was more authentic to the period it depicts. 

Krish has a reputation to live up to. You cannot be the maker of films like Gamyam, Vedam and Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum and then make a Kanché. That said, it is a film that deserves to be watched and this reviewer recommends it. Varun and Pragya are sizzling with chemistry and Varun does his role complete justice. Srinivas Avasarala does manage to garner a few laughs, but quite honestly, it is hard to believe that someone like him even existed in those days and in that situation. We just wish Telugu movies paid more attention to the finer details, especially when the film is not completely fictitious.

Why You Should Watch This Movie: 

Watch the film because it is a great story. Watch the film because it is a perfect movie to share with your family. Watch the film because even after all its flaws, it is still a decent movie that tried something new in Tollywood. Those should be good enough reasons, no?

– By L Romal M Singh



Release Date: Oct 22, 2015
Language: Telugu
Director: Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi
Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Cast & Crew: Varun Tej, Pragya Jaiswal, Nikitin Dheer, Srinivas Avasarala
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