Title: Heads and Tales
To throw: Divya Sripada, Sri Vidya Maharshi, Chandini Rao and others
Director: Sai Krishna Enreddy
Evaluation: 2.5 / 5
In our non-devotional, non-spiritual films (many films are pseudo-spiritual, by the way), God is the scriptwriter of the drama, trauma, and comedy in our lives. Fatalism is at the heart of this kind of representation. Everything is predetermined in this thought. In ‘Heads & Tales’, the ZEE5 Original under review, God (played by comedic actor Sunil, who at times looks like a calm, relaxed gangster going out of his way to look somewhat dangerous) might just have assigned destinies to Anisha, Alivelu Manga and Sruthi to Random. Is the film serious in its philosophy? Yes. Is the movie serious about divinity? No.
Anisha, played by Sri Vidya Maharshi, is a newbie actress whose acting choices are not to her boyfriend’s liking. Manga, played by Divya Sripada, is strapped for cash because her husband, who tends to go wrong, is riddled with debt. Sruthi (Chandini Rao), it is slowly realized, is doomed to live in a half-broken family configuration. How these three lives are scripted by the infamous Almighty is the gist of the film.
Writer Sandeep Raaj’s contributions to the Telugu YouTube space are underestimated. Whether or not his ideas clicked with netizens, he and his fellow travelers deserve applause for being actors for the first time. As the creator of “Heads & Tales,” however, he fails to get past the YouTube-y sensation. That’s not to say this movie is cliché or too familiar. That’s not to say his sensibilities are trivial. What ‘Heads & Tales’ lacks is the ability to make us feel the characters despite these life-changing conversations (their lives, not ours) between the key characters.
The idea of God that the movie plays with isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The carefree God seems to even script our courage. Do we have free will and the ability to use it? Manga and Anisha’s lack of seriousness (who get the most screen time) is juxtaposed with the nonchalance of the Almighty, who is a loveless dude. Since the concept of the divine is superficial, it helps that the character of Sunil is largely sidelined. In fact, it helps that Sunil, who most of the characters are silly, played the part.
When a song describes the unfolding story as a mad fate game, it doesn’t sound pompous. At the same time, it doesn’t mean anything in the end. What Manga and Anisha achieve over the course of one night doesn’t seem extraordinary when it doesn’t seem practical. A depressed person who spends healthy time with another person may come out stronger than before. It does not require divine intervention as much as it does require the exercise of some free will on the part of the sufferer.
If the Manga-Anisha trail gets unnecessarily cutesy (apart from the beautifully narrated rendezvous with a virtual reality device, accompanied by a flashback), Sruthi’s story might have been a winning one had the character been played by a better actress. Sri Vidya’s character wears her ability to look resigned on her sleeves and ends up looking too detached. Divya Sripada is the best performer of this ordinary drama. Mani Sharma composed the music and it is an encouraging sign that the star musician has completed an OTT project.
The film is streaming on ZEE5