Baby is designed like a cautionary tale. It is the story of a girl’s aspirations wreaking havoc around her. On the surface, the film is a simple tale of a ‘basti’ girl losing her way in the glitter of city life and how her naivety impacts the lives of the three lead characters, including herself.

Anand and Vaishnavi live in the same basti and have loved each other since they were in school. While Anand drops out and now drives an auto-rickshaw while Vaishnavi is studying to become an engineer. Her wide-eyed innocence and love of material things pushes her from one mistake to another. She gets too close to Viraj, the rich and handsome hunk of the college. She makes some wrong choices but refuses to back down, even if that means getting into impossible situations. Soon she is two-timing both Viraj and Anand, as she heads down a morally questionable path, finally pulling them all into the chaos she creates around herself.

To the credit of the filmmaker, he keeps the tone neutral, so as not to paint any of the characters in black or white. The driving force of the film entirely is Vaishnavi. It is her desires, her ambition, and her mistakes that take control of the fate of both the male leads and runs the narrative. Debutant Vaishnavi Chaitanya plays the character so perfectly that whenever the camera is on her, we accept her choices. She will get awards and appreciation in plenty for this role.

Written by Raghu Bandi
July 14, 2023 11:47 IST

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