In the run-up to the release MCA (Middle class Abbayi), a lot of electronic media outlets trained their guns on Nani and said he was playing monotonous roles. Ironically, the men we parade as our superstars in the present day are the flag-bearers for those roles. Let’s rewind our minds back to the 80’s when superstars of that generation acted in more than five films an year and sometimes they got by a ring in 12-16 movies as well. Imagine the social media and fan wars then. They would have had a field day criticising the monotony of it all. Hell, we have reached a stage where theatres sporting same seat covers for two successive releases will be criticised.
The moniker ‘Natural star’ on Nani doesn’t seem forced because he is like you, me and everybody around us; just that he is heroic because of the cinematic liberties taken. In his interviews or public appearances, he comes across as a person who genuinely loves cinema, without being boisterously so. I say that because the appreciation for a role, these days, is dependant on physical transformation you have undergone for a role. There is a reason why Vikram got a national award for acting in Pithamagan rather than I.
Is MCA a unique movie for Nani then? No, it isn’t quite so, because in any given year, we would have 50 movies in the Telugu movie industry that the film does, but Nani gives his own spin on how the character is played.
Venu Sriram, in a brief filmography, has come to depend on the casting for his movies rather than any substance in them. When he made ‘Oh My Friend’ in 2011, it was a casting coup of sorts because he managed to cast the then-lovebirds in his movie, but it was no Silsila.
In this movie, he blew away an excellent opportunity afforded to him by the producer by knitting up a run-of-the-mill story. That he wasted actors of the caliber of Naresh, Aamani and Sai Pallavi in making it should be held against him. If anything, in squandering opportunities, he seems to be an equal of Meher Ramesh.
Yes, Sai Pallavi does perform well, but the role is such that it could’ve been performed by any of the present-day actresses and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. The difference, if any, is spotted in her movements in the songs.
The hackneyed plot is saved by some able acting by Nani and Bhumika Chawla. Rest of the cast drift in and out of the movie at the director’s convenience. For a story not offering novelty in story or presentation, the performance by Nani is nothing short of a miracle.
How the producer, Dil Raju, with an eye for detail allowed such a star-cast to be wasted on an uninspiring movie will remain a mystery.
Verdict: The presence of Nani in the movie saves it from being an unmitigated disaster. Hearing him deliver the mandatory ‘Smoking and Drinking are injurious to health.’ is also a pleasant experience in a movie that seemed to be hurtling towards a disaster from the beginning of the second half