The film “Baby” is likely to provoke divided opinions, much like its predecessor “Arjun Reddy.” It presents moral complexities and flawed characters that are bound to generate extensive discussions. The story revolves around a girl named Vaishnavi, whose aspirations lead to chaotic consequences. Set in a basti (slum), the film portrays Vaishnavi’s naivety and the impact it has on three central characters, including herself.
Vaishnavi and Anand, residents of the same basti, have been in love since their school days. While Anand drops out and becomes an auto-rickshaw driver, Vaishnavi pursues her dream of becoming an engineer. Her innocent fascination with material possessions leads her astray, as she becomes involved with Viraj, a wealthy and attractive college student. Her series of wrong choices and refusal to back down from impossible situations result in her two-timing both Viraj and Anand. Eventually, her morally questionable path ensnares all three characters in the chaos she creates.
The filmmaker deserves credit for maintaining a neutral tone throughout the film, avoiding categorizing characters as purely good or bad. The driving force behind the narrative is entirely Vaishnavi, as her desires, ambitions, and mistakes shape the fate of both male leads. Debutant Vaishnavi Chaitanya flawlessly portrays the character, with viewers accepting her choices whenever she is on screen. Her performance is likely to garner awards and accolades.
Anand Deverakonda surprises with his excellent portrayal of the suffering lover, delivering standout performances in scenes before the interval and towards the climax. Viraj Ashwin also leaves a lasting impression with his performance. Naga Babu plays the girl’s father, while Viva Harsha and others contribute to the narrative. However, Vaishnavi’s college friend disappears without significant impact, and the film fails to explain the motive behind Anand’s irritation towards his mute mother. Additionally, the tough money lender undergoes an unexplained transformation into a compassionate human being.
Vijay Bulganin’s songs and background score complement the film and enhance its mood, while Bal Reddy’s cinematography is commendable. Given director Sai Rajesh’s history of slapstick comedies, “Baby” is a surprisingly deep and emotionally charged film that raises thought-provoking questions. Producers SKN and Maruthi deserve recognition for supporting this bold endeavor and allowing the director to stay true to his vision.
Similar to “Arjun Reddy,” “Baby” is likely to incite debates about its moral ambiguities, characters, and ending. It is premature to discuss the film’s commercial success, but it is poised to join the ranks of cult classics like “7/G Brindavan Colony,” “Premiste,” “RX 100,” and “Arjun Reddy.”
Overall, “Baby” offers a compelling narrative that challenges viewers’ perceptions and sparks meaningful conversations.