: Subbu is an ambitious and greedy businessman, whose perfect life goes topsy-turvy with the arrival of his childhood friend, Rishi. Soon, Subbu is forced to go on a journey to the Himalayas, which changes his life forever.
: There's something magical and pristine about the mountains that makes you question you about your life. Perhaps, that's why a lot of people go on a spiritual quest deep into the mountains, hoping that they would find the answer to, possibly, the most important question of their lives - What's the purpose of my existence in this universe? To have such an experience is surreal, to say the least. This is precisely the crux of Nag Ashwin's superbly-layered Yevade Subramanyam, which traverses the life of a young man, who tries to find who he really is.
The lead character, Subbu (Nani) is a personification of ambition and greed, who has planned his life to the last detail, and in complete contrast to Subbu's characterisation is his childhood friend, Rishi (Vijay Deverakonda). A hippie at heart, Rishi believes that one must live life to the fullest and do whatever you want to do. He keeps coaxing Subbu to come along with him to Doodh Kashi in the Himalayas and that becomes an obsession for him. We aren't told it is that Rishi wants to find or do there, but the journey itself sounds too exciting to him to forget. However, there's a catch. Subbu is entrusted with the duty of acquiring a rival company, which gets complicated with the arrival of Anandi (Malavika Nair), whose whimsical attitude catches him off-guard.
The trio shares an interesting chemistry and on most occasions, Subbu is the odd one out. He knows that he doesn't share anything in common with either of them, but he's forced to stick with them. This, in turn, has a long lasting impact on him. In the second half of the film, there's a scene where Subbu (Nani) is awestruck by the serene beauty of the Himalayas, and he takes a moment to sit back and think about his life. They say your eyes are windows to your soul. It couldn't be truer in Subbu's case in that particular scene. The desperation in his eyes vanishes and it is replaced with an alarming sense of awareness about life around him. From there onwards, we begin to understand that the sole purpose of his journey is to fulfill his friend's last wish and in the process, he makes peace with himself.
For anyone who has been through a quarter-life crisis and managed to overcome it, Yevade Subramanyam almost feels like a biography. And it's amazing how much of the drama feels real. Be it the conversations between Nani and Malavika Nair, or moments where Nani contemplates about his life and starts caring for others, it's all captured extremely well. The three lead characters, who are in complete command of their roles, are a treat to watch. There's no exaggeration or melodrama in the film, and even when Rishi goes through a mental breakdown, he sounds like a voice of reason.
Vijay Devarakonda and Malavika Nair are great finds, and it would be a pity if their respective performances don't make you sit up and take notice. On the other hand, Nani digs deep into his arsenal of talent to stay true to the character throughout the film. He begins as an overgrown 10th class kid, who's blinded by his ambition, and becomes a man when he finds his purpose in life high up in the snow-capped mountains. Yevade Subramanyam will go down as one of Nani's best films irrespective of its fate at the box-office.
Kudos to Nag Ashwin and his team for making a film full of heart and soul. For all its philosophical undertones, it's a remarkably simple film which hides its avalanche of emotions quite well. It's a matter of how soon you see what lies beneath. And the moment you realise what the film is all about, it'll make you restless almost to an overwhelming degree. For once, put aside everything you expect from a Telugu film, and go on a ride which traverses the Himalayas and the deepest realms of your sub-consciousness. Yevade Subramanyam isn't a film where you'll laugh out loud, despite its subtle humour. It's a memory that you must savour until the very end. Like life itself.