F3: Fun and Frustration is more of a franchise than a sequel to F2: Fun and Frustration. Anil Ravipudi, who has written and directed the film, embarks on another fun ride with the characters from the first film, some of their character traits intact, in a different story. This is an unapologetic leave-your-brains-at-home-and-go-have-a-laugh film. There are generous references to contemporary Telugu cinema and the fourth wall is broken time and again. Some of the events are inane and the tone is uneven; the film oscillates between being utterly boring and hilarious. However, F3 is an improvement on F2, with more laugh-aloud moments.
Venky (Venkatesh Daggubati) works at the RTO office and is looking for shortcuts to make money. His is a stereotyped world where his stepmother (Tulasi) and siblings expect him to be an ATM, nothing less. Meanwhile, there is Varun Yadav (Varun Tej) who does nothing in particular, accompanied by Sunil (who returns to his forte of comedy), desperately trying to make money. The men have a face-off with streetsmart women – played by Tamannaah Bhatia, Mehreen Pirzada, Pragathi, Annapurna and Y Vijaya. There’s also Pradeep who sticks to anthega anthega and pulls a surprise towards the end.
There are several other characters — Rajendra Prasad and Sampath Raj as police officers with their own agendas and stories, Ali as the moneylender who worships women and will do them no harm and Vennela Kishore as the pan-India junior artiste.
F3: Fun and Frustration
Cast: Venkatesh, Varun Tej, Tamannaah, Mehreen
Direction: Anil Ravipudi
Music: Devi Sri Prasad
The initial half-hour is rather bland. The fun begins, in a small way, when an unsuspecting couple does a Vishwaroopam Kamal Haasan kind of a turn to Varun and Sunil. Ravipudi gradually pulls out several tricks from his hat. The events that happen around Venkatesh’s night blindness set the course for a roller coaster fun ride. Varun’s stutter and the manner in which he and those around him break into a gig works on some occasions. The only character who has no intention or time for lame jokes is Murali Sharma as the industrialist.
When the story shifts to a palatial residence, it’s a hark back to the familiar comedies of the 1980s and 90s where several characters try to outdo one another in a setting.
Some laugh aloud segments come from unexpected characters, like a rowdy sheeter who enters the palace, and Satya who stumbles upon… let’s not reveal it here and spoil the fun.
Sonal Chauhan and Pooja Hegde are roped in to add to the glamour quotient and Tamannaah finds herself in unexpected situations. The gags surrounding the taming of a ferocious bull, as a test, work. The one involving Venkatesh is a riot. Ravipudi capitalises on Venkatesh’s family-friendly image and the actor is effortlessly impressive at every turn.
Though the second half feels bloated and the music, too, offers nothing special, more hilarious gags are served up in the outlandish climax. F3 tips its hat to the superstars and blockbusters of contemporary Telugu cinema; the humour that rides on the rise of OTTs takes the cake.