Dammu movie review

At the audio function of Dammu, Rajamouli appreciated Boyapati Sreenu for sticking to the action/mass masala genre. In his words “I have drifted into movies involving graphics and Vinayak has dabbled with comedy. The only director, steadfast in his belief with action movies, is [Boyapati] Sreenu”

 

An avid Telugu movie fan has become intelligent these days. He knows what to expect from a director based on his previous work. On that level, Boyapati Sreenu has managed to satiate the expectations of a lot of people. Not just the fans. If the movie doesn’t connect with the normal crowds, he can always hide behind the words “But, it was made for the fans”

 

Fans: This word is bane for the industry. In the morning, before going out for the movie, I was chatting with a friend of mine and asked him, if he plans to watch the movie. He said ‘No’ and said it would be a torture to sit through the movie. Fair point, but a few weeks ago, when I said that a movie was bad, and it starred his favourite hero, he was quick to retort back by asking ‘Did you watch the movie?’ Well, the time that I had a chat with him, he wouldn’t have watched the movie. I too am a fan of a hero, and I enjoy his monotony as much as his different roles. Hate for actors hasn’t permeated into me, yet.

 

Coming back to the movie, there is nothing that you would find to be novel, but the way Junior Ntr enacts and modulates his dialogues is to be watched on the big screen. His fans would be disappointed with the fact that the NTR they knew for dancing, didn’t turn up in this movie. The song ‘Ruler’ turned out to be a dampener

 

Adding to NTR’s performance are the BGM and dialogues in the movie. “Pandi Balisthe  adhi Enugu kadhu” seems a normal dialogue, but the way NTR delivers it bought about a lot of cheers in the theatre. Every confrontation with the villain(s) has NTR slipping into the effortless mode. Now for the all-important question, will the movie propel NTR a few notches above Mahesh Babu in the pecking order? No, for the primary reason that he indulges in a lot of chest thumping, which might not actually gel with the neutral audience

 

There is a lot of double entendre in the movie that could have been avoided. In spite of the ‘A’ certificate, a few words strike a jarring note. Ali has been doing a lot of these roles in the recent past and the day might not be far away, when his very presence in the movie will make the censors stamp an ‘A’.

 

  • NTR shines in a role that was tailor-made for him. Except for the dance sequences, he manages to go beyond the expectations of the people. His suggestive dialogues might turn away a few non-fans. Considering that the movie had a lot of family audiences, he should have taken care to avoid the suggestive dialogues

 

  • Trisha has a neither here, nor there role in the movie. She doesn’t have much to do in the second half of the movie. If the movie hits the bulls-eye, she can be sure of landing a couple of plum offers

 

  • There is nothing in the movie that justifies Karthika’s role in the movie. The director might say that it was essential in enticing the masses to the theatre, but I felt that her overtures in the movie were uncalled for

 

  • The rest score well in their respective roles

 

  • Boyapati Sreenu seems to have become an expert at these movies now. The story thread is always based in a family and how the protagonist works towards redeeming the lost glory of the family. Each and every action sequence in the movie is brilliant. The ‘hand folded behind the back’ sequences were a pleasure to watch ( it appears twice in the movie). All in all, a movie that would further enhance the reputation of everyone involved with the movie

 

IPL: Champion of whose cause?

Robin Bist and Vineet Saxena. Do these names ring a bell? Yes, they were the pillars for Rajasthan in  the Ranji Trophy win, this year. Which teams do they represent in IPL? Vineet, doesn’t have a contract and Bist is listed to play for the Delhi Daredevils

 

If this is the plight of players in a winning team, imagine that of the players from the plate league. One of the biggest advantages, while playing in IPL, is hobnobbing with the best players in the world. Citing the examples above, the players have been failed by the system, unless Robin Bist is learning the technique of switch hit and paddle scoop from Kevin Pietersen and Dilshan respectively.

 

The established players can certainly teach the local players the technique, but the vision and the execution has to flow from that particular player’s brain. It is actually shocking to see a few esteemed heads taking the side of IPL ( not T20 internationals). From the other side, the grass doesn’t seem too green on the IPL side

 

* * * * * *

 

There are players who represent teams in the plate league, and are capable of making the grade in IPL. Speaking to one such player, he readily accepted that his action was suspect and was sent to the NCA for corrective measures. Though he made the changes in his action, he is constantly riddled by the questions of ‘What if’

 

Now imagine, if this guy were to interact with Muralidaran, he would not gain in bowling ability, but he would get some advice in harnessing the brain. The same player said “To make the national team, you need to have talent. Backing up that talent, is also very crucial. Virat Kohli (with whom he played in the U-19 level) is an example of the same. Once you make the grade…..”

 

He trailed off in his last few words. After much goading, he managed to stitch together an incoherent response. He said that once you make the national grade, even in the presence of a suspect action, it would be tough to bring the player back to the roots. Without actually indicating the names, he hinted at the bowlers who had a suspect action

 

He sustains himself by playing in three leagues, in different cities. Though he is humorous and happy with the position he finds himself, there must be a regret that given his talent, he could have done with some help

 

* * * * * *

 

At the other end of the spectrum, there is this man who found his way into a Ranji team, based on one very good innings in the IPL. Nobody grudges him the chance as he made his way in by facing some quality bowlers in the tournament.

 

That he did nothing to actually enhance his reputation by playing well in his debut will hang like an albatross on his neck. He got multiple chances and situations to prove himself. All he did on most occasions was to go for the ball, from ball one. His strike rate was up there, but the one time that he managed to rein in the attacking instincts and play, he scored his highest of the season- a half-century.

 

He has himself to blame. When the entire team was adhering to the strict rules, he went out and flouted the rules. That he lacked the discipline was evident to an outsider, but he had an IPL contract on hand. This season, he has managed to replicate the first class cricket form and finds himself in and out of the team he represents

 

* * * * * *

 

That  IPL helps the cause of cricketers in India, at least financially, is the most bandied about reason by people who see no wrong in IPL. If the larger interests of cricket are at the heart of the administrators, they would do well to add a team consisting of associate and affiliate nations. If the owners would have had the time to cast their eye on the recently conducted ICC WT20 Qualifiers, they would’ve cast their net on a lot of players. The owners, though, will only let in players dictated by the finance potential of the respective players

 

Not everything is wrong with the IPL. In the next post, I will discuss the positives to come out, not just financial, of the tournament

 

Racha movie review

There is a dialogue in the movie “Nuvve Nuvve”  where Tarun says that a father should expect the son to climb from the eleventh step, if the father himself has climbed ten steps. Sampath Nandi, the man who joined Posani Murali after Trivikram took the dialogue too seriously. He thinks Ram Charan will take off from where his father left the reins

 

First things first, there is nothing in Ram Charan that points towards a secure superstar future. Part of the lure of a superstar is, salvaging a downright bad film to a decent film. Ram Charan fails to salvage the movie. Period. Credit to him, that he actually agreed to act in Racha.

 

He must still be ruing the last 15 minutes of that movie ‘Orange’. It seems, he didn’t learn the lessons imparted to him by that movie. If the stories are to be believed, 3 crores were spent on the Bamboo fight sequence. From my side, I would put it down as an apocryphal story. If it is indeed true, there would be a reputation that would be precede Ram Charan from hereon and it would be that of a man who makes the producer splurge

 

On numerous occasions in the movie, we are reminded of the lineage of the hero. It gets to the nerves after sometime. The self-indulgence is unwarranted. The movie seems more like an experiment, an experiment to ascertain whether Ram Charan can carry the burden of a bad movie. The results are out to be seen. He can’t.

 

Coming to the movie itself, it refuses to move. The first half is spent on elevating the image of the protagonist and as is the norm, there is an interval bang. Flashback, peeling the layers of the story(?), mass song, and the final bang are all there. The problem is, they are all stuffed in the last half an hour of the movie. It is when you see movies like this, that you realise the importance of a good director and his capabilities. These kind of movies need a protagonist that won’t fail the script. Sadly, Ram Charan doesn’t look the part, yet.

 

  • Ram Charan, clearly holds Magadheera close to his heart. The initial few sequences, a montage in the first song, his chest thumping sequences are pointers to that. He looks at ease when dancing and mouthing powerful dialogues. His comic timing, sadly, is non-existent. Amongst all the heroes, who are considered to be challengers to the number one throne, Ram Charan has had the first shot and it comes unstuck. What he needs to do, is to go back to the shed and hone a few acting skills. The aura, and therefore the pressure of being a megastar’s son will wear off after a few movies. It is then that he needs to fall back on his own skills, which at the moment seem too raw. One more advice for him will be to stay away from imitating and remaking his father’s hits. The remixed version of Vaana Vaana pales in comparison to the original. The pair in this song doesn’t quite match up to Chiranjeevi and Vijayashanti. These are the tangibles that are not taken into account by the makers. Well, he still has the burden of Zanjeer on his back

 

  • What is left in Tammana that is not seen by us? She has shown us as much as a U/A certificate would allow. It’s a pity, because she is a good performer as evidenced by her performances in 100% love and Happy Days. She has nothing to do to do in the movie. There are shades of Oosaravelli characterisation in this movie. She is much better at performing, than at swaying her hips. Hopefully, Endukkante Premantha will get her back to better times

 

  • Sampath Nandi. The less talked about him, the better. How he could get this story through multiple filters in the Chiranjeevi family will remain a mystery. It is difficult to see him getting to direct a star in the near future.

 

  • Finally, the producers. They started a movie called Merupu and it was shelved midway. This movie is sure to incur losses and it will be added to the expenses that they incurred on that non-starter. Looks like Ram Charan will have to forego his remuneration for this movie too. One question that I want to pose is, the body that Ram Charan built up in Miami was for Merupu or Racha?

 

West Indies V Australia: 2nd T20 International

Are little things known to inspire people? If so, what makes them turn ‘on’ that imaginary switch in the brain? Do players knowingly get into a squabble to inspire themselves? All of this was in evidence in last night’s match between West Indies

 

Pattinson started by spraying the ball, like he did in the previous T20. There was something that both the openers, Dwayne Smith and Charles, did that was effective and seemed like a well-planned move. That, one of them decided to move away from the line and the other tried to move into the line played havoc with the bowler’s lines

 

For a few deliveries, it seemed that McKay stumbled on the good length. The good length to bowl to these batsmen was the ‘invisible fourth stump line’. Watson found the radar early and forced Charles to hole out to long-off. Pollard couldn’t repeat his heroics from the previous game. On his way back, Warner provided some lip service to him. At that moment it seemed inconsequential, but it came back to haunt the home team when Warner batted with refreshing freedom in the powerplay overs

 

Anyways the Pollard dismissal was the catalyst that the fielders were waiting for. Till Smith was at the crease, it seemed as if 200 wasn’t beyond the reach of West Indies. The dismissal of Smith, though, had a dominoes effect on the rest of the batting. Bravo struggled to keep the runs flowing. Australia succeeded in keeping West Indies down to 160. There wasn’t any inspiring moment that Australia cashed upon. It had more to do with the fact that West Indies had self-destructed magnificently

 

The Smith-Charles partnership was so effective that for a fleeting moment, Anderson and Jayasuriya might have entertained hopes of their record being eclipsed. The six that Charles hit off Lee will stand out in the memory for a long time. It was a fuller length delivery, on the middle and leg line, and swinging in. Charles moved back and sliced the ball over deep backward point fence. For devastating effect, he propelled one more ball over the point fielder for a boundary

 

Pollard started his feud with Warner before a ball was bowled. He was buzzing near Warner, whenever the opportunity presented itself. They had a long argument at a drinks break. Lyon, the twelfth man, enjoyed the show without actually getting involved. It seemed that the conversation fuelled Warner. He got to his half-century and looked set to take Australia to their first series win in T20’s on foreign soil. Bravo put paid to those hopes as he ran Warner out with a direct throw from extra-cover

 

With the odds even going into the last stretch of the match, Samuels produced a match turning over. Not only did he bowl four dot balls at stretch, he also took the wicket of Matthew Wade. In the end, West Indies won comfortably, but not without breaking a sweat. They had more moments to derive inspiration from, than Australia. Lesser learnt from the match: No moment in a cricket match can be viewed in isolation

Nippu- Neither smoke nor fire, but pushes you into a mire

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Around this time last year, Ravi Teja issued a press release. He stated that he is ready to give a chance to any new director and his doors would be open 24/7 for them. You can attribute that to the promotion for the film ‘Dongala Mutha’. After his subsequent movie, Veera, flopped, there was a talk going around that he is asking for bound scripts from the directors

Nippu, in my opinion, would have been accepted in between those two phases. There would’ve have been no reason to accept this film had it been a bound script. Ravi Teja is known to make monumentally disastrous decisions while choosing films. Bhageeradha, Baladoor, Khatarnak, and Veera stand as testimonies for the same. On the flip side, he is also known to carry a movie on his shoulders. Though not on par with his previous disasters, Nippu will be a movie that Ravi Teja will stand to regret

It was promoted as the amalgamation of different styles of cinema. One, bearing the trademark Gunasekhar stamp and the other being the entertainment we have come to expect from Ravi Teja. One positive thing to emerge from the fracas is the fact that Ravi Teja is a director’s actor. No actor in his senses would have accepted to do a trailer jumping sequence. The entire movie was woven around a single thread and that hurt the movie bad. The starcast wasn’t utilised properly.

There is a disturbing trend that has been noticed in the last two movies of Ravi Teja. He is tending to gravitate towards the larger-than-life characters. This is actually playing havoc with his movie choosing abilities. He seems to be out of sync with his success pattern. He was someone who was always identifiable with his characters. In Veera and Nippu it wasn’t so

It isn’t as if Ravi Teja let the movie down. He was his usual energetic self all through in the movie. There was something more that was required from him. That he needed to be stretched to be limit is the director’s fault. From unbelievable action sequences to a delicate thread holding the script together, it didn’t quite pan out the way the director expected it. The movie might have worked if the flashback episode was a little bit longer.

People and sites have been spelling doom for Ravi Teja’s career. I feel all that he needs is a role that can get him closer to the proletariat.

So where do the people associated with the movie go on from here?

  • Ravi Teja needn’t worry about his immediate future, but that doesn’t mean he can be reckless with the scripts that he chooses. He has some strengths that few actors in the industry can boast of. Like delivering the dialogues with élan and superb sense of comic timing.
  • Deeksha Seth needs a hit and fast. She did the best she could and it wasn’t enough. Few more movies with A listers would be of great help. The problem is, who would offer them to her? She needs to plan her career with care and ensure that it doesn’t careen
  • Gunasekhar is in the danger of obliterating his own legacy. Sainikudu, Varudu, and now Nippu represent the biggest trough in his career. He is himself to blame for it as there was either, a delicate story thread or no story at all to narrate. He has a movie in hand. If that fails at the box-office, we might have seen the last of Gunasekhar
  • A man who survives Okka Magadu, Saleem and Nippu will be nothing less than Houdini. Train wreck after train wreck of movies and being associated with them will do nothing to YVS’ short-term and long-term future, but spell doom. Rey is the only movie that he has, to pin his hopes on. Is it worth pining his hopes on?

Love for the Guernsey cricket team

Have you ever imagined this setting? You can actually stuff an entire country’s population in a match at Eden Gardens, Kolkatta. To top it all the country has a cricket team. Well, come out of the imagination and you can see the reality. Guernsey is one such country

 

Their cricketers are the best ambassadors for small country cricket. Watching them from close quarters in WCL 5, I felt that they were the best personifications for the much abused ‘It’s just a sport’. While they give it their all on the field, they are gregarious and fun-loving characters off it

 

In a match that was affected by rain, all of them volunteered to be the groundsmen for the day. This gesture was not lost on the opposition, Argentina, as they too ventured in getting the match started. It was the second match of Guernsey that I watched. What actually caught the eye and knowing that little more about the team was a little gesture at the break of the innings. All of their players stood up to applause in welcoming Kneller, who turned the match around in the batting powerplay. They stood on to applaud Ferbrache who was instrumental in holding an end as Kneller went bonkers at the end. All the players of the team and the supporting staff had enough sense in standing on and applauding the Argentinian team off the field. This gesture was not lost on the people watching the game

 

In their next game, they had to endure a heart-breaking loss to Malaysia. Going into the final over, it seemed as if they were the favourites. It was not to be and they lost the game by four runs. Far from giving reasons for their loss, the players took it on the chin and looked forward to improving their skill sets. A couple of players that I spoke to said that it wouldn’t have mattered a lot in the final analysis as they felt that Malaysia would have gone in with a stronger eleven into their final league match, than what they actually did- they rested their best batsman for the match. One of the star performers for the Guernsey team, whom I met in the lift, said ‘It was an enjoyable match, isn’t it? We will have to perform better when we find ourselves in a similar situation the next time around’

 

The next time, though, came pretty soon. Two games after their match against Malaysia, they faced Cayman Islands in a third-place play-off. The batting didn’t click, but they set up a challenging target. The bowlers and fielders did the job for the first half of the Cayman Islands innings. The catch by Hooper at extra-cover off Gordon was an instant classic. It would have found its way to youtube if it were to  be a game between the member countries. When Best and Wright set the ball rolling for a Cayman Islands win with their partnership, the shoulders didn’t wilt. They were trying their best to break the partnership

 

The momentum swung throughout the slog overs. To spice up the proceedings, there was a threat of rain. Cayman Islands was ahead on D/L tables. The bowlers and the fielders didn’t allow this to deter them and were intent on giving it their all. Under the circumstances, they did the best thing to keep the game in check- take wickets. With the equation down to 19 off 2 overs, Guersey seemed to be the team with the wherewithal to seal the game. Conroy Wright had other plans, though. He unleashed the flattest of sixes in the over and Cayman Islands were left needing 8 runs off the final over. The hot air, a batsman in rampaging form and tired fielders meant that Cayman Islands were in with the better chance. When Wright took a couple off the first ball, the supporters of Guernsey had given up. Fortunately Ferbrache wasn’t amongst the players that gave up. He ran to his right and leapt about three feet at long-off to pull off a stunning catch.

 

Wright, the batsman, was stunned at the way the catch was pulled off. He thought that he had the match won with that lofted hit. The denouement was to come as Taylor struck a boundary of the very next ball to get the target down to two runs. He threw the kitchen sink at the next ball and fortunately, missed. Hooper, the bowler was not amused as it was a leg cutter that he had bowled. The entire ground, by this moment, was up on its feet. When the yorker found the target, the stumps, the team was ecstatic.

 

In the middle of their celebrations, they again found a way to cheer the opposition team off the playing field. In the process, they won the hearts of the people. On the eve of the tournament, the manager said that the biggest strength of the team was the way they struck with each other, through thick and thin. They demonstrated that strength amply through the length of the tournament.

 

Even better, they showed that they learnt from their mistakes. With teams like this, it’s not the aid that matters, but the exposure. Till then Guernsey, keep winning matches and accumulate fans. It won’t be a surprise if their fans outnumber the population in the near future

Trivikram’s Angst

In the recently conducted MAA music awards, the normally reticent Trivikram shed his shyness and spoke about Sirivennela Seetharama Shastry. The tone of the speech varied from that of despair to that of angst. The speech was basically about the falling standards of Lyrics in Telugu film industry and how Sirivennela held his own all these years. The beauty of the speech was such that, you could have replaced Telugu and put any other language. The angst would have been the same, regardless of the language

 

He started off by saying that he neither had the standing nor the vocabulary to talk about Sirivennala. “When I heard the songs in Sirivennala, I wanted to find the meaning of a few words used in the song. That was the moment I realised that there exists a dictionary in Telugu and bought one. I referred to the words in the dictionary.” He says in no unmean terms that Sirivennala’s name adds to the song. “The job of a lyricist is to not just write songs that are understandable to the audience, but to write songs that a common man would crave to understand.” He complimented him by saying that the value he lent to a song was immense “He is the man who increased the lyrical values in a song. Instead of resigning himself to the fact that the audience wanted to listen to a few kind of songs, he reached out to those people who strived hard to understand the lyrics.”

 

He mentioned a few great works and said that a few words are difficult to use in books, but Sirivennala used the same words with ease in the songs and contributed towards increasing the stature of the listener. He further added that he deserves respect for actually increasing the stature of the listener.

 

“We all clapped and went crazy when we saw Chiranjeevi’s song on the AV. What we din’t notice was the lyrics in the song. You need guts, first of all, to write those lyrics in a song. To convince a director, get the producer to agree on having the lyrics isn’t an easy job. I know how tough a job it is, as I myself am a director.”

 

“ In Bobilli Raja, we have all heard the song that gained Mass adulation. He was the one to show that there is scope for surrealism in the lyrics. It wasn’t that there was scope for surrealism there. He bought the scope by himself. He was the one to show us that the lyrical values in a commercial movies are not always derogatory. He has treaded on thin ice all along.” His comparison of writing mellifluent songs with that driving a Porsche in lanes around Charminar area evoked thunderous applause. He laid into everybody associated with cinema when he said “ Lyrics take a beating because the heroes are preoccupied with their images, the directors are ignorant of the words used, and all that the producers care for are the so-called ‘commercial values’”. He also blamed the audience for not being able to comprehend the lyrical value of a song

 

“Sirivennala needs to be feted for the single reason of going about his work in spite of all the above mentioned obstacles. It was for all these obstacles that he made sacrifices in life” At that moment it appeared as if he was going to transgress the line that separated speech from ventilating. He controlled himself and said “I normally don’t come to functions such as these as I find it difficult to control my emotions”.

 

He compared him with a sun that rises in the midnight and said his presence through lyrics pervades our everyday lives. He said “Using words as rays of hope and alphabets as weapons, he goes out to war. He asks us not to quit. Ask us questions, which we can’t answer”

 

Recounting a personal experience, he says “ I went to watch ‘Sindhooram’ in my days as a struggler. There was discontent brewing as I was watching the movie but a few words which went “Do we call 50 years of ignorance as independence?” made me stand up, put my hands in the pocket, and walk away. I didn’t know where I was going but I was just just walking along. Such was the impact of his words. Only words can make the impact that can change a life”

 

He opined that being a Telugu movie lyricist might have actually stunted his progress. He was saddened by the fact that he restricted himself to the Telugu Film Industry. “No value exists for the people who write lyrics in Telugu film industry. That is the reason why we couldn’t respect people like Malladi Ram Krishna Shastry, Jannu, Deverapally Krishna Shastry, Dasaradhi. All these people weren’t recognised for their efforts because they wrote songs for Telugu films. People like Veturi and Sirivennala had it in them to write Nobel prize winning efforts but instead they sought to stay back in the Telugu Film Industry”

 

He ended it all by saying that it was the misfortune of the writers to be languishing in the film industry and the people should feel blessed to have someone so special in their midst