Agnyaathavaasi movie review

Back in the day, around the release of Khushi, when functions were being organised for the movie, the producer AM Rathnam, talking in one of those functions had compared Pawan Kalyan to Rajinikanth: actors with their fingers on the pulse of the audience. In hindsight, it can seem to be a foolish statement or a profound one, considering the boat you sail on.

Pawan Kalyan is riding on two disasters (in terms Box-office returns and the content in them). Who better than his friend and the director, Trivikram Srinivas, who gave his biggest hit till date to pull him out of the rut?

An actor-director combo is expected to repeat the magic of their previous hit when they collaborate again, but here they take it too far as the character sketch of the protagonist is similar to that of the previous movie. It seems as if Trivikram Srinivas grew too lazy and wanted you to assume that you are watching the extended version of Attarintiki Daredhi (it’s the season of sequels, you know.)

All the tropes of a Trivikram movie, bar few, are there in this movie too: dumb heroines, rich protagonist, a family figure to look up to and a villain who doesn’t seem menacing enough.

*****

Agnyaathavaasi is the story of a man hidden away from the rest of the world as a Plan B. When we go to a movie we should allow for some suspension of disbelief, but this movie stretches the limit. Did Trivikram not have the time to write it or wasn’t he allowed to write what he wanted? Forget the main theme being borrowed from a French movie, some scenes too seemed to be a rehash of previous movies.

The office comedy scenes had ‘Rowdy Alludu’ written all over them. Hate me as much as you want but Pawan Kalyan is no Chiranjeevi when it comes to comic timing. He simply doesn’t have the ability to raise the level of the movie with his acting.

The kidnapping of a few people and keeping them locked away at the same place seemed pretty similar to that of Khaleja. In that movie, Trivikram managed to weave comedy and philosophy around the situation, but here the attempts fell through.

Though he talks of a Plan B in the movie, every such attempt in taking the Plan B is rebuffed by Trivikram. Imagine the scope of the movie if the movie took the direction of Sampath Raj hounding Pawan Kalyan. That doesn’t seem the point of the movie. The point of the entire movie seemed to be playing sycophant to Pawan Kalyan.

*****

Pawan Kalyan doesn’t seem to have his mind and heart in acting anymore. Not that this is his worst effort, but the effort isn’t visible, which is a sad thing. That he didn’t bother trying is a fact that his die-hard fans should acknowledge as much as Trivikram’s laziness in trying to develop a coherent script. The eulogical dialogues just don’t seem to work as his character graph isn’t properly developed. It is as if they forgot to draw the line by mixing reel with real; the fans are supposed to imagine Pawan Kalyan in real life and bring that imagination to the restraint the character shows before its unleashed on the world. The introduction scene had all the eccentricities associated with Pawan Kalyan and it’s tough to imagine that Trivikram would’ve conceptualized it without Pawan Kalyan’s interference. Takes us back to the Jalsa days, doesn’t it?

Trivikram is one of those rare directors who have a presence in the script without being a part of it. A Trivikram movie does draw you to the turnstiles, but here he allows the very few good dialogues he writes to be lost in the mediocrity of Pawan Kalyan’s character. It is a pity that he allows himself to be carried away by his/the fans love for Pawan Kalyan. This is a throwback to Jalsa, where the entire movie doesn’t seek attention, but a few scenes do. There too, he wants us to imagine the character depth rather than showing it on screen.

Keerthi Suresh, Anu Emmanuel, Khushboo and Boman Irani, who?

Rao Ramesh is the only actor who comes away unscathed from the mess that Agnyaathavaasi is. He shines with the way he utters dialogues. He shines with the way he expresses the dialogues meaning. One of the best things to look forward to in a Trivikram movie, in the recent past, is Rao Ramesh and they don’t disappoint.

*****

Verdict: Walking into the sunset might actually be metaphorical in this movie

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