Mukunda review

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In 2009 and 2010, we were witness to a couple of star debuts – Naga Chaitanya and Rana Dagubbati. The former had a bad debut and the later a good one. Now, in 2014, we have another star debut – Varun Tej, nephew of Chiranjeevi & Pawan Kalyan. Here, Srikanth Addala doesn’t make the mistakes that Vasu Varma made with Josh and also puts into good use the things that he must have learnt from watching Sekhar Kammula’s Leader.

Josh, for me, was a movie that worked but a lot of people felt that it was too preachy and Naga Chaitanya was trying to be too big for his boots. I felt the director was under pressure to showcase everything that’s needed of an actor in Naga Chaitanya.

That’s the mistake that Srikanth doesn’t make. He doesn’t make his hero talk lengthy monologues; that’s left to Prakash Raj. One of the things to impress me about the entire character was the absence of dialogues pertaining to lineage in the movie. We can criticize Varun Tej for selecting a character that is one-dimensional, but what’s important is that he performed well.

While talking about the making of SVSC, Venkatesh and Mahesh Babu repeatedly spoke about charming way with which Srikanth Addala held his ground in face of immense pressure. Watching Varun Tej portray the character in this movie, makes you believe every word of that.
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The movie is simple in its storyline- there are two themes, running parallel to each other. There was a hue and cry after an episode of Meelo Evaru Koteeshwarudu, where Varun Tej failed to answer a question. The question was, ‘Which of the following gods is called Mukunda?’. He puts it beyond doubt in the initial sequences of the movie. He talks about being there for his friend, always. Probably apt that they are named Arjun and Mukunda.

He does well in all departments bar dance. Yes, this for a hero coming from Chiranjeevi’s family. Srikanth Addala, the director, doesn’t complicate things for him. He gives him crisp dialogues and a lot of shots which go from long range to focus shots. In typical Telugu movie jargon, he ensures that Varun’s ‘cut-out’ is very good. In the initial sequence there is a conversation between two girls, on the sidelines of a standoff between two warring student factions, which goes:
Girl 1: Aa Choopu ki artham ente (What does that look/stare mean?)

Girl 2: Veelaki adhi ardham avvali ante veelu vachche janma lo ada dhaani la putali (If they are to understand that stare, they need to be reborn as women)

That sort of establishes that the protagonist is handsome and the director doesn’t need to take the help of scenes to establish the same fact.

During a confrontational scene, Varun Tej says, “Nijam ento mana iddariki thelusu” (We both know what’s the truth). I don’t know if Srikanth Addala intended it, but I felt that it was him doffing his hat to Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead.

A lot has been written without talking about the movie’s biggest strength- Rao Ramesh. No words of praise can be too high for this man. Of all the successors we have in the industry, here is a man who is steadily climbing the steps to Superstardom in his own right. Diction and expressions are his strengths. One of the biggest cliché thrown around for an actor is ‘living and breathing the role’. Rao Ramesh has been doing that for quite a while now. Two brilliant performances from the top of my head are Atharintiki Daredhi and SVSC. The scene in former, where he explains about the heart attack and the thoughts in his mind at that point of time is, quite simply, one of the best sequences of the recent times. The later has him living the role of an evil patriarch.

He takes his performance a notch higher in this movie. He is menacing without the menace. Suave without the suaveness. His character is described well by Nasar the second time he meets him.

Srikanth Addala always seems to reserve his best characters for Rao Ramesh and understandably so. The man is nothing short of a blockbuster performer. It won’t be a surprise, down the years, if they go down in history as one of the pairs that got the best out of each other.

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I have a bias to Srikanth Addala. His characters speak Telugu in an accent that I am used to. He makes them look like people out of our own lives. His screenplay is usually tightly bound. He doesn’t usually waste time in establishing the characters. He establishes them with the help of dialogues. Paruchuri Venkateshwara Rao, father of Varun Tej in the movie, goes about describing his son to Rao Ramesh and at one point draws comparisons with an onion – that it can be added to Pulusu, kooralu and pachadlu.

The entire interview scene with Varun appearing for the Income Tax officer has some brilliant dialogues, especially when Varun Tej says low aspiration is a crime and the dialogue where he explains that he draws inspiration from his middle class father. There is a brilliant dialogue writer in him that doesn’t get the credit he deserves. One of the best dialogues in the movie for me is when Varun Tej proclaims his love for Rao Ramesh’s daughter and Rao Ramesh says, ‘Naa Pempakam naadhi, nee nammakam needhi’ (I can’t translate that into English. It would lose its flair and meaning if I do)

I felt that he did quite the right thing by not having a defined comedy and romantic tracks. The two themes could’ve been diverted by the unnecessary addition of forced comedy/romantic scenes. The choreography could surely have been better, but Raju Sundaram isn’t helped by the fact that Varun Tej, for now, seems to be an awkward dancer.

At the audio release function, Allu Arjun was talking about the simplicity of Addala’s movies and how the good values of the Srikanth are seen in every frame. That was the thing that I remembered when I saw him thanking people from each place the movie was shot in (Amalapuram, Bhimavaram, Tadepalligudem etc). The first name we see on the title cards is that of Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry. I think that’s a first for Sirivennela gaaru.

The movie is only about two characters- Varun Tej and Rao Ramesh. They put in stellar performances and the rest support them well.

Verdict: It doesn’t matter if you set out to make a masala movie and falter; It matters if you set out to make a good movie and falter. Fortunately, Srikanth Addala doesn’t

Picture courtesy: idlebrain.com

My thoughts on Karthikeya

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In 2007 October, there was a lot of activity in the film industry because on the 2nd of that month, the much awaited debut of Ram Charan was to take place. On the same day, a film directed by Sekhar Kammula also released. The name of the movie was ‘Happy Days’ . Sekhar Kammula was no stranger to competition. In 2004, he released Anand on the same day as Shankardada MBBS and succeeded in drawing attention to his movie. This challenge, in 2007, was different. Happy days was made with first time actors or actors whose careers failed to take off in the first and second attempts.

Around 56 minutes into the movie, there is a scene. It goes something like this:

Tyson: Auto, Gandhinagar?

Autodriver: Raanu Anna

Rajesh: (Forcing himself into the auto) Endukku raavu ra, naadu.

If at that time anyone were to ask us whose star would shine the brightest, a lot of fingers would’ve pointed to Nikhil. He managed to veer himself off the track by choosing poor movies and trying to imitate his favorite heroes- Pawan Kalyan and Ravi Teja.

It is a credit to his persevering attitude then that he managed to keep himself in the mix for seven years now when his colleagues from the same movie, except Tammana, are all but done with their careers. When his career was down in the dumps, he received a lifeline in the form of Swamy Ra ra. As the saying goes, ‘Nothing succeeds like success’ and we know the rest. He has been choosy with the roles he wants to play now. The first movie after that success was Karthikeya

Karthikeya was not a straight forward release. It had its own share of problems. The audio was released five months ago and the release date kept getting postponed. The film trade has changed a lot from what it was in 2007. In the days of big ticket releases, it’s difficult for a ‘small film’ to have a sustained run or a wider release. In short, it’s devoured by the big ticket film even though the later turns out to be a disaster. In short, it’s difficult to have an Anand or a Happy days in the present scenario.

While the movie was getting postponed, one theory that was floating around, probably true, was that the makers were not interested in vying with big movies for screens. Well, they did find a good time to release it if the story is true.

Thrillers are never awaited with bated breath in Telugu film industry. Not so long ago, they were the main reason to have close up shots of bosoms and buttocks. So, Karthikeya comes in like a whiff of fresh air in the genre. One of the welcome omissions from the movie is the bathroom scene. It is a common practice to have one.

All this tells you that the director, Chandoo Mondeti, clearly bucks the trend. In the initial shots involving Nikhil there seemed to be an air of déjà vu, but as the film progressed so did the character. Kartik Gattamneni, the cinematographer, was a brilliant choice. The scene where Karthik sits with the manuscript on the table was brilliantly shot and so were the scenes shot around the temple. There were two more shots that caught my eye- one, the scene where Nikhil, while searching for Swati, enters a building in the college and only his silhouette is seen. The same thing happens in the climax when the person guilty of crimes is revealed.

More than the actors, it’s the director who needs to be complimented for sticking by his conviction. Though you have a sense of déjà vu, when the perpetrator is revealed, the movie does have you glued to the seats. One of the reasons is the screen time and the other being the director’s refusal to be veered away from the narrative. The comedy, when it happens, is in sync with the needs of the narrative rather than as a break from the grimness of the plot. One thing to notice is that action and choreography is credited to ‘Team of Karthikeya’.

It is only obvious that when the director has a vision, so will the actors. Each and every actor in the movie has performed well. There is a scene in the movie when the protagonist’s mother informs him that he is to become an uncle yet again. We can hear the conversation in the background, but what we see is the protagonist’s brother reveling with pride- the pride that comes with a sense of achievement. Yes, the scene makes you laugh at him because of his thoughtlessness. That, in a nutshell, is a tribute to the actual heroes of the movie – director and the cinematographer

Verdict: A welcome break from the assembly line of comic entertainers.

Image courtesy: idlebrain.com

Botswana and the memories

IMG_7450Our family used to go our village once a year in my childhood. During one of those trips, we came across a lady who was taught English  by my father in his free time. While watching TV at their place, I asked where she stayed. She replied, ‘Botswana’. The first thing I did was to open an atlas gifted to me by my uncle and find the country she mentioned. There was nothing more to it.
Never in my wildest dreams in the 23 years in the interim did I think about Botswana. It didn’t strike me when I boarded the flight to Gaborone via Mumbai and Johannesburg. It didn’t strike me during the entire stay in town for close to fifteen days. Probably my bladder wasn’t happy with the journey as my first memories of Johannesburg airport and Gaborone airport were the toilets.

First thing to impress you about Gaborone airport is the next to nothing scrutiny at the airport. They probably trust people, a forgotten art in these days. The difference between the modern airports and Gaborone airport becomes more clear once you step out of the immigration area- you pick the luggage and get to the exit area from the airport. There was no duty free area in the airport at that time. It was my first sighting of an airport without a duty free area.

While riding into Gaborone, I saw something that was unusual – young kids practicing Pole Vault. I didn’t just see it at one place,  but saw it at a couple of places. I asked Ravi if Pole Vault was famous. He said wait till you see something in the city. I probably didn’t see anything on the ride to the hotel as I didn’t ask him any more questions.

After checking in at the hotel, named Gaborone Sun, we made a trip to the nearest ‘mall’. There was this restaurant called ‘Asoka’ specialising in Indian food. By the time we went there, it was well past their closing time. So, I had to have food at the cricket club. The cricket club seemed a place out of realms of dreams. Everything that a visitor would ever want to have would be available at the club. If there are more than two patrons there, the stories would just flow.

In the evening we found our way through residential areas of Gaborone. The scenes of kids pole vaulting came to mind as I was told that the reason could be found in the evening. When one notices the houses, there seems to be a common theme- high walls and electric fences. Put them together, you will deduce that pole vault was a way to avoid the obstacles. I was told that the place is relatively safe as long as you were not screaming for attention. If you try to be loud or flashy, you could easily be the target.

There is no way one can escape Indian presence in Gaborone. Be it the Indian restaurants, the Indian people, Indian brands or Indian banks. They are all over. The fact that I found a person from the same city that I studied in was surprising to me. I find it tough to encounter a person from Visakhapatnam in Bangalore, whereas the first person I speak to, out of the airport, in Gaborone is from Visakhapatnam. If not for me reading that Durban is the city with most Indians in a city other than Indian city, I would’ve safely assumed that Gaborone was the city with the largest number of Indian diaspora.

My working days involved a journey to a place called Lobatse. The journey was kind of a first for me as it was the first time that I had a police escort along with me so as to navigate through the traffic easily. Every single day as we weaved our way through the traffic and reach the suburbs, we would find a huge mall at the foot of a hill called ‘Kgale hill’. I found it very difficult to pronounce and the locals put me at ease by telling me that the ‘g’ in the word could be pronounced as ‘h’. That same logic applied to pronouncing the g in Gaborone as well!

The sights on the way to Lobatse were many- a game park, a hill bearing close resemblance, so said the locals, to the human posterior and stories of an old woman taming a snake are popular. The sight that I liked the most was the sunset. With the terrain being flat, the route offered some of the best views of a sunset.

One drive on the route and you would find the problems plaguing Botswana- teenage pregnancy and alcoholism among young kids. There are multiple boards trying to drive sense into the youth, but that doesn’t seem to be working because Botswana is a country with one of the highest rates of AIDS prevalence. It’s said that one among four people in Botswana has AIDS.

Both Gaborone and Lobatse have wonderful looking football stadiums from the outside. It doesn’t take a Sherlock to guess that Football is the most popular game in Botswana.

IMG_7404The game reserve just outside Gaborone is a must visit and the guided tour inside the reserve is an enjoyable experience. There was a funny incident in the game reserve. I wanted to click a lot of pictures, but try as I might, I couldn’t get the beings to turn towards me. All I could photograph was their bums.

At Lobatse there was a first for me- experiencing a sandstorm. It came out of nowhere and left destruction in its trail. A person who was dear to all of us, just about managed to escape grave injuries.

Another memory from the trip would be the way my birthday was celebrated by the people around me. While the pranks were naughty, they were the exact reason why the day would be remembered for years to come by me. All I can say is that I will let it remain a secret between the people involved.

It was Ugadi (Telugu new year day) the same day. So I went to temple. I met a person who hailed from the same village as me and knew my grandfather. How many places can I go to claim that this happened to me. I didn’t expect it to happen to me in Gaborone

Srinu Vaitla’s (without Kona Venkat) Aagadu

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When a director-writer combine goes their separate ways, it’s impossible to gauge the immediate impact. When Trivikram Srinivas and K Vijayabhaskar split, it was seen that the director was the one to suffer in terms of immediate box office impact. For reasons unknown, Srinu Vaitla and Kona Venkat (Gopi Mohan included) aren’t together anymore. There is a visible impact- the role of Brahmanandam isn’t properly etched.

The last time that Srinu Vaitla can claim to have done something different was way back in 2001 – Anandam. It was a movie well received because of its story and songs. The portents of the template based movies were probably laid with Sontham. Yes, the template worked commercially and guaranteed dividends to the producers.

Brahmanandam is the most critical component of his movies. Right from Venky, there are a few scenes, at least, in the movie where the hero plays a second fiddle to him. Now it doesn’t matter whether it’s Ravi Teja, Nagarjuna, Mahesh Babu, Ram or Venkatesh, they have all played second fiddle to him in Vaitla’s movies. Chiranjeevi didn’t in Andarivaadu and we know the box office fate of the movie.

Now it’s clear that those hilarious episodes were courtesy Kona Venkat. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that the episodes involving Brahmanandam raised the movie to an altogether different level. Youtube provides you access to a lot of videos where only scenes involving Brahmanandam are cut and pasted in a single video.

Ask anyone who has seen Venky, Dhee, Dubai Seenu, Ready, King, Namo Venkatesha, Dookudu and Badshah, as to what they remember from these movies and majority of replies would involve sequences with Brahmanandam.

In Aagadu, he arrives to a deafening response, but the laughs refused to come after a certain point. This, according to me, is the biggest drawback of the movie. Probably a few of us might say that Srinu was deviating from the template in the movie. No, he wasn’t.

It would be doing grave injustice if we didn’t say that the writing killed the movie and execution more so. Put in a blunt manner, Srinu Vaitla needs to gather his act and soon.

 

Mahesh Babu is coming off a disaster and that shows. The immediate response in the face of a flop is to go back to the comfort zone. For him, it probably was with Srinu Vaitla. Though people who saw the movie would say that the first half had its share of comedy, I would say that the repetitiveness of the comedy track killed the comedy. The hyperbole of Srinu Vaitla didn’t help him. He said at the audio function that if Dookudu was 10%, then Aagadu would be 100%. There can be nothing farther from truth then that. The plight of Mahesh fans was akin to the fans in Neninthe movie. They lie in wait for a brilliant display in every scene and are deflated at every point. Though he attempts to dance in the movie, they pale in comparison to the moves by Tammana.

Tammana proves that she is one of the best female dancers in the country. In all the duets, it’s her dancing that you would want to watch again.

Rest of the actors just make up the numbers.

Perhaps the most telling comment on the movie was this

 

Verdict: I didn’t like the movie, but I don’t dictate box office collections

 

 

Thoughts on ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’

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First things first. I didn’t actually intend to read this book. I wanted to buy ‘Born to run’ and ended up buying this book. After reading the book, I can safely say that it was a good choice. It is a translated version from Japanese

 

The book has a life like pace. It goes about slowly, but doesn’t ever meander. The book is about describing the events in a certain period. It talks about, in the initial pages, how he took to running and writing. More fascinating is the narration where he talks about deciding to write. It is endearing, to an extent, that he doesn’t want to paint it as anything but a whim.

 

Haruki Murakami is a popular author and he has a style of writing. I haven’t read enough of neither his books nor other great works to classify it specifically. What keeps you glued to the book are the trials and tribulations of the author. I don’t quite know if it was planned or by accident that he tends to concentrate on the fact that he too, like a lot of others, has failed. What keeps him going in the face of failure is his stubbornness.

 

He believes in the power of persistence. At the outset, he says

 

No matter how mundane an action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act

 

We get to know a lot about the man when he talks about the time he felt he wanted to write. He broke even and started making some money at the jazz bar he owned. As mentioned before, he decided on a whim that he wanted to write and despite a lot of people suggesting him not to, he decided to go ahead with the whim. One thing you can’t grudge him is his preparation – he shifts to peaceful environs and equips himself with everything that’s needed to write. It was around the same time that he developed the habit of running.

 

Running served needs other than that of fitness too. It helped him deal with many other things in life

 

When I am criticised unjustly (from my viewpoint, at least), or when someone I’m sure will understand me doesn’t, I go running for a little longer than usual. By running longer it’s like I can physically exhaust that portion of my discontent

 

Fortunately, he gives a lot of hope of us who want to be runners

 

When I first started running, I couldn’t run long distances. I could only run for about twenty minutes, or thirty. That much left me panting, my heart pounding, my legs shaky

 

Then there is ATHENS MARATHON. It was here that he encountered a difficult stretch, made even more difficult because of the terrain and also the weather conditions. He refused to give in. The temper got to him, a feeling common to him during the marathons, in the final stretch, but this time he was really angry. Not even the monument at Marathon can make him cool down. It is here that he acknowledges the helping hand that the locals give to the runners.

He also talks about ultra marathon and the triathlon he ran in. The problems he faced in both of them and how he tried his best to overcome them makes a good read

The way he talks about talent, focus and endurance is brilliant. When I read what he wrote about endurance, my mind immediately went to what Rafael Nadal said about it in his book. The private correspondence that he has with Raymond Chandler and how he built focus and endurance even when he didn’t write is breathtaking.

 

There’s very less of humour in the book, but the moment that can count as one is the occasion where he has address a gathering of students. He says he is comfortable in reaching out to them in English than Japanese, because when he talks in Japanese he has more than one word to explain a situation but since his vocabulary in English is limited, it helps him in sticking to the context.

 

 

 

Thoughts on Rabhasa

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When the song ‘Raakasi Raakasi’ was released I couldn’t help but wonder as to why box office success is eluding NTR for a long time. He can act well, dance well, emote well and probably is the best modulator of voice in Telugu Film Industry now. Now we can add singing to the repertoire as well.

NTR, in a short span of thirteen years, can claim to have been through a lot that very few actors can claim to have. Ever since he appeared on the marquee as a child artiste in Bala Ramayanam, he was earmarked for stardom. It was not a question of if, but when! His debut film was an unmitigated disaster. His second film, helmed by SS Rajamouli, was a fair indicator of his capabilities than his first.

Though he rose to stardom with Aadi, there was a frequent criticism, not untrue, that he tried to use lineage to the maximum possible effect. A lot of people were of the opinion that he grew in the industry with sheer willpower. From being a mascot of a specific caste to being dropped like a hot potato by the same people- NTR has seen it all. Probably, this being out of favour with some influential people has affected his standing in the industry as well.

The last blockbuster we had from NTR was Adurs- whatever the makers of Badshah do to convince you, don’t believe that it’s a blockbuster. He campaigned for TDP while the shooting of Adurs was on. At that time, going by the way he spoke at the road shows, he was considered a Chief Minister candidate in the future- once again in the footsteps of his much revered grandfather. Though TDP are in power, his name is not heard in the circles that matter.

The experiences- good or bad- leave you a changed man. NTR, much like all of us, was also a changed man. Gone was the man, who was on the threshold of Superstardom. Instead we have an actor who is struggling to add a blockbuster to his filmography. He has himself to blame for trusting the directors rather than the script.

His choices after Yamadonga make you feel that he wants to knock on the doors of Superstardom again. Nothing else can explain him acting in two Meher Ramesh movies in three years. If Kantri had shades of Mahesh Babu from Pokiri in it, Homo Sapiens are still trying to figure out the mess that Shakti was. Apart from Brindavanam and the aforementioned movies, there hasn’t been a movie of NTR (after Yamadonga) which has been helmed by a director without a super hit or a blockbuster as his previous movie.

Probably not craving for the blockbuster might set the actor and performer in him free. He needs to be particularly careful while choosing his movies in future.

Santosh Srinivas was a cinematographer before he earned his chance as a director for Kandireega. Kandireega was watchable only because of Sonu Sood. He took a lot of time to make Rabhasa. Yes, he fell sick during the making but all he could come up with a brilliant performer at hand was a mixture of Ready, Mirchi and Don Seenu.

There were a lot of stories doing the rounds of the disagreements between NTR and Santosh, but they were all squashed by the parties concerned. If at all the stories were true, then they must have been because of the poor execution by Santosh.

Bluntly said, it’s difficult to see him get a chance to direct the big stars in the near future

Samantha has completed her transition from a beautiful lady to a glamour doll. While it’s good to see her trying for versatility, you would still love to see her enact the sort of roles she did in the initial part of her career and the one she did in Manam. Every attempt to get closer to the masses (so-called!) with her skin show has resulted in her falling flat on her face. A quick question to herself can untangle her from the dilemma that she finds herself in- will people remember Samantha from Ye Maaya Chesaave or Alludu Seenu ?

 

It is baffling to see Praneetha laying waste to a golden chance provided by the blockbuster that Attarintiki Daredhi was. Only she can explain why she agreed to the two bit role in the movie. She will soon find herself relegated to inconsequential roles if she doesn’t choose carefully.

 

There are a lot of characters in the movie and not all of them have been utilized well.

 

Verdict : The movie might be aired on channels in a few months now, which would be a good time to see it

 

Image Courtesy: idlebrain.com

 

Thoughts after watching Run Raja Run

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If you have seen Sye, Chatrapati and Vikramarkudu, it’s fair enough to say that you would have noticed Chandrasekhar in those movies. In these days, when the heroes boast that they are recognized and called by their screen avatars, it is indeed a matter of pride for Chandrasekhar that he is known by the roles he has portrayed. Now if I tell you that the lawyer in Sye, sidekick who loses his life saving the children in Chatrapati and as a man owning a shop near the railway station in Vikramarkudu, I am sure that anybody who has seen these movies will recognize Chandrasekhar.

In Run Raja Run, Chandrasekhar has a role that, at best, can be described as a two scene role. He excels. The way he utters ‘Happy Birthday, Sir’ will remain with you long after you have left the theater. A similar kind of impact was had by Shafi in the movie ‘Khaleja’. As he is dying, there is a twinkle in his eye for having seen the eyes (Neredi pandu lanti kallu) of the man whom he considers a god.

I still remember Mahesh Babu talking about Chaitanya (I may be wrong with the name) during the promotions of Khaleja. He played the part of a man whose child is dying and Mahesh Babu ends up saving her. There is a scene where the man holds the hand of Mahesh Babu and cries. Mahesh Babu lucidly narrates the time before the scene

He had to hold my hand and cry. Since it was an emotional sequence, I asked him to apply glycerin. He smiled and said, “I would do it naturally, sir, there is no need of glycerin”. I smirked within at his over confidence and thought there would be retake and he will have to come around to applying the glycerin. To my surprise, he finished the scene in one take and cried effortlessly, just like he said he would.

It’s when the talent that goes waste because of the lack of recognition that will make you twitch internally. When Chandrasekhar says that he is confident that Kallama Thalli will take care of him, you hope that it comes true

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It is surprising that a man with financial backing, opted to go against the grain and grind it out by enacting supporting roles. Sharwanand first caught the eye when he played the role of a jilted lover in the Telugu remake of Munnabhai MBBS***– Shankardada MBBS. He was noticed for his acting chops, for the first time, in Vennela. After that he was noticed and praised in Amma Cheppindhi, Gamyam, Prasthanam and Andari Bandhuvayya. He had a hit in Tamil – Engeyyum Eppodhum- and the dubbed version in Telugu- Journey- was a moderate success too. He did act in supporting roles in a few more movies like Sankranthi and Lakshmi.

Though he has been a part of few critically acclaimed movies, success proved elusive for him in the Telugu Film Industry. As the time wore on, the pressure to deliver a hit grew on him. The role in Run Raja Run must not have been an easy job for him acting wise. After acting in a slew of movies where intense portrayal was the norm, he did act in a comic role in Nuvva Nenna, but that movie also had Allari Naresh to shoulder the burden. It was his first time in a hyper active role and he succeeds. It is indeed a feather in his cap that he plays the lovable rogue to perfection in the movie and manages to elicit laughs in the theater.

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When you sit back and watch Run Raja Run, it flows like a breeze for some time, makes you predict easily what would happen next, get exasperated at some anatomical references and entendre. Yes, it does drag a bit in the second half. After watching the movie, you will realize that the director couldn’t have done a better job. It’s a con movie without the con. It’s a revenge drama without the plotting of revenge (When I say without con and plotting of revenge, I mean in terms of screen time). It’s a romantic movie though the protagonists have their own reasons for enacting the romance.

You can’t deny that the movie looks fresh and with the House Music playing a strong influence on the songs, it also comes across as a new thing. More than anything else there seems to be a collective goodwill that Sharwanand finally has a hit. So does Adivi Sesh, Sampath Raj and all the others in the movie.

I hope that actors like Chandrasekhar are not lost to pointless roles and get what is their worth. Till then, congratulations to Sharwanand, Seerat Kapoor, Adivi Sesh and the entire team down to the last man who worked for the movie. A lot of them deserve success.

Pic Courtesy: Idlebrain.com

*** The post was changed on 15th August  as it was incorrectly stated that Sharwanand reprised the role of Jimmy Shergil. He din’t.