Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya

ASSA

 

This movie impressed me with its “first look” poster. I wanted to watch the movie when I saw the teaser. I couldn’t watch the movie while it was in the theatres and caught up with the moment it released on “Amazon Prime”

I ended up liking it so much that I saw it thrice in a span of 10 days. Naveen Polisetty was fabulous in the movie and it isn’t surprising that he helped in the writing department. Maybe the conviction in the writing touched upon the acting as well.

Not everything about the movie is good. The theme, the flow, the actors and the acting was good. Starting and the ending seem pretty rushed. It’s almost as if the director wants to take you to the protagonist being a detective. Till we get to the actual plot, one feels that the director has played all his cards. Once into the actual plot, director and the able protagonist shine.

In the initial few minutes, the comic writing shines through. It’s as if the movie wants to be a new generation Chantabbai. There is a hat-tip to Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock as well. The way the detective instructs his apprentice is a treat to watch. One scene where he differentiates himself from an LIC agent is rip-roaring.

Once they get to the plot, they don’t deviate from there. And we don’t feel a need for any relief. So engrossed are we that we don’t notice the absence of a romantic track, comedy thread or needless eulogising of the hero.

There is no “twist-a-minute” or a parallel track to lead us off on. There are three reveals in the movie. Revelation of who does it, revelation of why they do it and revealing who gets it done. While there are small hints the movie gives us, we fail to catch on it as it does not dwell on it.

This is a movie where every character was important to the movie, in one way or another. Heck, the location – Nellore – was also chosen with care. The native dialect was spoken by the protagonist and it seemed he did it well. This is a good thing as we can’t have protagonist being a native of Kakinada and speaking in Telangana dialect and vice-versa. Shooting in locations real-time gave the movie its charm. And so did the references to local dishes and places.

On the whole, Naveen Polisetty dominates the frame and he has able support from the other actors. It’s not a joke to pull the movie through without an established name in the cast. That, by itself, tells us how much the movie had us engrossed in the tale rather than the stars.

Verdict: It’s difficult to imagine an existing hero to pull this script off and at the same time it’s too demanding of a new actor to portray the role. Naveen does a fantabulous job

Image courtesy: 123telugu.com

Jersey Movie Review

 

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Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sanjay Manjrekar …

Shantanu Sugwekar, Amol Muzumdar, Vanka Pratap, Jitendar Singh, Sanjay Raul …

The first set of names are of the people in the 1996 World Cup squad for India.

The second set of names are of the people who played well in the 1996/97 Ranji Trophy. Some of them, like Shantanu Sugwekar and Amol Muzumdar, didn’t even get a chance to represent India. Jersey talks about cricketers belonging to the second set of names.

***

The movie opens in 2019 when a book written by an author named Ramya is making waves in New York. It is the top-seller. It’s named ‘Jersey’. The movie then jumps back to 1986 when we are introduced to Arjun, the cricketer on whom the book is based on, is shown as a talented cricketer. Then the movie jumps to 1996 where Arjun is sleeping with his family in the living room, under a leaking roof. He faces lot of the problems that the middle class faced in those days – unpaid rent, growing debts and no income.

There is nothing horrid that happened in the 10 years. It’s not the story of those 10 years. He gives up cricket because he is not selected to the national team even though his name was in the papers the day before. He takes up a job in FCI and as luck has it, he gets suspended. He is dependent on his wife for money and he gets used to the domestic life by watching cricket all day and indulging his 7-year old son.

***

Arjun’s life changes when his son wants an Indian Jersey as a gift on his birthday. He moves from pillar to post to get the 500 rupees required for buying the “Jersey”. He even resorts to wanting to steal the money from his wife’s purse and gets caught in the bargain. The next few minutes after that are an indicator to the brilliance in Nani. He doesn’t talk when caught by his wife and reprimanded in front of people and his son. Shraddha Srinath excels in that scene where she brings forth her insecurities, fears and helplessness at their state. A little later, father and son have a moment with each other. It’s a challenge for you to stay unmoved after that scene. Even the stone-hearted people would shed a tear or two.

Some of the best scenes in the movie revolve around the father-son relationship. The change in Arjun in the ten years is his internalisation. Internalisation of grief, happiness, joy and helplessness. But, there is no internalisation when it comes to his son. He enjoys every moment with him, because in the entire world that surrounds him, his son is the only one that doesn’t judge him.

In a quest for the only thing that his son has ever asked him, the Jersey, Arjun falls back on the only thing he knows – cricket. While he wants to play cricket, people want him to coach. He does convince them of his abilities and finds his way to the final fifteen of the Hyderabad Ranji team. The celebration of Nani when he finds out that he has made it is special and it shows.

After that, it’s cricket matches, a stellar season and the climax.

***

Gowtam Tinnanuri, as a director, is at the top of his game in this movie. He makes everyone who watches it relate to the story in one way or another. Though you can predict the next scene, you can’t predict how brilliantly the actors performed. The actor’s performances give you a special high. None more so than Nani’s. When the movie’s title was announced, I wondered why would anyone want to name his movie, Jersey. After seeing the movie, one feels, there is no other title that could’ve been apt. His pain staking research is evident and there is one small glitch that might have been overlooked – Nike branded bats in 1996 didn’t exist. He teases us with scenes where we expect he would glorify the protagonist, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t fall for the temptation

It would be an injustice to say that this is Nani’s best. In my eyes, he is one of the best performers in the Telugu Film industry, if not the best. With every movie of his, he sets the bar higher. He has come a long way from being a director’s actor to being a director’s dream. He excels throughout the movie. There are a few scenes that stand as indicators to his greatness as a performer – the scene where he is drinking Badam milk while discussing luck with his friend, the entire birthday scene, the scene with Shraddha Srinath where he tells her that for the first time in ten years, he is getting angry with her. Check for his dialogue modulation there. What about the scene where he literally begs his wife for one final chance? And the scene preceding that ? His acting and the believability of his character is such that your eyes well up with tears regardless of his presence in the scene.

Shraddha Srinath doesn’t have as much to do as Nani and the actor who played his son. The undertone of her relationship with her husband is brilliantly conveyed in her own words to a colleague, “We are not like other couples. We fight, but we don’t shout on each other.” Look for her reactions when she catches Nani stealing from her purse.

The kid who played their son is another actor who does well. The father-son relationship plays out so bloody well. Nani and this kid, in different scenes, show us that we don’t need faces to emote. Words would’ve a similar effect. Look for the scene where he tells his father that he doesn’t need the Jersey anymore. That’s the scene where Nani also excels and tells him that the fight between his parents is not because of him.

Satyaraj, Pradeep and others perform well in the roles given to them.

Verdict: Watch the movie and watch it again.

Image courtesy : idlebrain.com

KGF Movie Review

KGF

Image courtesy: behindwoods.com

Name a blockbuster and more often than not you will find revenge or good vanquishing evil as the central theme. KGF doesn’t attempt to take a different route. How it goes about doing it is the moot point.

Prashanth Neel, the director of the movie, excelled with action set pieces in his first movie Ugram. The protagonist wears an intense look, he seems to have a flashback and he becomes a saviour. KGF, too, remains faithful to the template and there is enhanced grandness. How else can you make it a pan-India film?

He gets a star at the top of his game and boy, does he utilise him well? The entire movie is about Yash. Yash doesn’t let the director down as he gives a terrifying form to the character. Swagger is what the industry reckons by and Yash gives Rocky, the character, a lot of it. The movie starts in 1981 and we have a female minister, grapevine has it that it’s based on Indira Gandhi, signing orders for the pulling back of a book and removing traces of a person from public knowledge.

A media organisation gets hold of the author of the book when it’s found that he is a person who doesn’t waste words on needless things but has written an entire book on a person. So, they think it’s imperative to know about the person from him.

The author starts tracing the story from his birth where we are told that at the time he was born, gold was also found at a place 18 Kilometres from Kolar Gold Fields. Born Raja Krishnappa Bairya, he loses his mother pretty early in life. His mother tells him that she doesn’t mind what he does but he shouldn’t die a poor man.

**

Prashanth Neel seems to be inspired by the oeuvre of SS Rajamouli and there are traces of early Rajamouli films in this movie. One can say that Prashanth has taken the blueprint and strides forward with it.

After his mother’s death, the kid has a target but not the path. A chance encounter with vagrant tells him that if you beg, you get pennies, but you threaten, you get big money. He starts out as a boot polisher (yeah! Mumbai, Underworld, Deewar and superstar) and is told that to be remembered one need not have a long name but a short name is enough. His obsession with brand is such that he rechristens himself ‘Rocky since 1951’ inspired by Raymond’s.

The mother-son angle is good and as thought to be it doesn’t mar the proceedings. There are a few dialogues that hit the viewer hard too

**

Prashant Neel has some undertones in the movie that he doesn’t take time to explain. He makes you concentrate on the dialogues so that you can remember them when the action scenes unfold. He seems obsessed with dark (there can be an explanation for that as well if you dig deep) and has a couple of fight scenes in the dark. Even the climax is played out in dark. It is a metaphorical reference to how Rocky walks in, does his work and walks out, nonchalantly.

With a superstar at his disposal, he is basically fishing. Fishing where he can lay an entire trap.

The action scenes are well choreographed and full of gore. In these movies, the more the gore, more the feeling of redemption when the antagonist is vanquished. This is where Prashant falters. The scene where Rocky starts out with the destruction has you rooting for him as a premise is set and the brutal killing satisfies the viewer. The climax, though, has nothing of it. Despite being 155 minutes long, you are left with a feeling that the climax was rushed. The movie, at times, gives out a feeling that the director set out to make trailer-worthy scenes rather than hoot-worthy movie.

There are a couple of times that the reporter jumps forward in his tale. It serves no purpose. It’s basically to show the superstardom of Yash and as expected, he excels. Those scenes serve no purpose, aggrandising the hero is what the scenes set out for. That’s done by the hero himself and the character named by Pathan. Heck, every character’s brief in the movie is that – soar the hero.

A few people would’ve been disappointed by my stating that Prashanth is inspired by Rajamouli. I said that because the language used for women in the movie gets cringe-worthy at times. Yes, he does set it right by saying that there is no better warrior than a mother, but the effect of the dialogue in the hotel lingers more than the aforementioned be. Rajamouli used to do that in his films till Eega I guess. The quirky names of the characters is another reason why one is reminded of Rajamouli. Another reason I felt so is because of the statue scene. All said and done, the guy who played Garuda gives the movie its best scene when he glances back at the statue and gives a photographically perfect pose.

**

Garuda is also the biggest disappointment in the movie. While there seems to be so much fear around him, it’s not well established as to why do people fear him. Something tells me that he isn’t the antagonist to be feared but his uncle Adheera. I have a feeling that the background of Rocky might be explored further in the second part. It’s said that his mother conceived him at 14, gave birth to him at 15 and died at 25. There is a slight end left open pointing to his illegitimacy as his mother is taunted by a couple of guys.

Parallel to all this is a tale where a journalist, in 1981, is interviewing someone about Rocky. It might be the thread that will reveal more.

Yash, as Rocky, breathes life into the character. The screen presence he has is one of the reasons why you don’t leave your seats. He knows that the movie is piggybacking on him and he delivers. The intensity on the screen sears through and no aggrandisement was required, but the makers felt otherwise.

There is an accessory worn by the heroine in the movie – a gold headband. That accessory has as much screen time as her.

The technical team of the movie does a good job. The location chosen for the movie, Toranagallu mines, is bang-on. The connection between El-Dorado (flashed during interval), Yash rubbing the soil on his body and him rising to being the leader of the people enslaved in the mines could’ve done with some explanation. It comes across as heroism and doesn’t point towards the good research done for the movie

Verdict: The producers will remember the movie with fondness. The actors? A movie that makes you wait for the sequel, but if it is anything like this, it will be panned

Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava – Sakutumba Saparivaraa sametham ga

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In 2004, NTR had a release on the first day of the year. It was a resounding flop. It went with the name ‘Andhrawala.’ It came at a time when he was in a fight for box-office supremacy with the reigning numero uno of the time, Chiranjeevi. He plumbed the depths after what was an early bright phase in his career. 

That flop came in midst of bitter caste wars in our college. It was so bad that people not belonging to NTR’s community were celebrating the flop. I never got into the caste wars in college but there was glee in me as well when the news reached that the movie was a flop. 

******

At the beginning of this year, Trivikram delivered his biggest dud. It took a lot of sheen away from his capabilities as the movie was found to be a freemake of ‘Largo Winch.’ Agnyaathavasi was a movie that seemed most un-Trivikram of his movies. He went off the public radar and only resurfaced during the promotions of this movie. There must have been some introspection as he turned over the way he made movies. 

What was thought to be as a common thread in most Trivikram movies is missing here. It helped him no end that he had, at hand, an actor who had submitted to his vision and belief. 

Trivikram begins slowly in this movie and he rides the wave with the first fight sequence in the movie. It was a sequence that had climax written all over it, just that it wasn’t . He reaches the crest and the movie goes downhill for a bit as we get to see what happens after a fight of such magnitude. It could’ve tumbled down quickly but what holds the movie is the scene between NTR and Supriya Pathak. Both the actors bring their A-game to the scene and it shows. Supriya Pathak is aided by Trivikram’s dialogues. NTR has to bank on his expressions. One of the dialogues is that people are talking that he was born with a knife in his hand. In the fight sequence before this scene, he is shown tying the knife to his hand. Trivikram doesn’t let small details escape and boy, it pays off. 

Trivikram usually shows the female protagonists in his movies as bimbettes. This movie, refreshingly, is a move away from such a portrayal. She is said to be doing her MA in anthropology, a study of humans and human behaviour. She wants to do ethnocentric study on factionalism. 

She seems an extension of Supriya Pathak’s character. She even utters the same dialogue as his grandmother, which leads NTR to say ‘vinne time, Cheppe manishi batti vishayam viluve maripothundhi’ (the circumstances and the person talking to us give a whole, new zing to the words). The words ring a bell when NTR says it. 

Trivikram doesn’t delve a lot in showing the romance between the lead characters. He conveys it in the dialogues. The scene in the cafe, where Aravinda expresses her love towards Raghava, is nice. The build-up to the scene is Pomodoro techinique ( yeah, you heard it right). It can be safely said that Trivikram might have put it to use in the screenplay as well. 

There are a couple of scenes, between the lead pair, which are elevated by Trivikram’s dialogues. One of them is where Aravinda explains female psyche to Raghava at a metro station and another one is where Raghava explains the male psyche to Aravinda in her bedroom. No, there is no physicality in the scenes. 

Trivikram elevates NTR’s character and he does it multiple times. The pre-interval sequence is a hoot and the way NTR says, ‘Kantapadavo kanikaristhannu emo, ventabaddana narikestha Ona’ (If I see you, I might take sympathy on you. If I have to chase you, I will hack you).

Post-interval, there is very little of comedy and the action keeps shifting between the villages of Kommadhi and Nalabanda and Hyderabad. 

There are many goosebump-inducing scenes in the second half. None better than the one where he sits in front of Rao Ramesh and threatens the villain and his henchmen on phone. All this while drinking a cup of tea. He goes to Rao Ramesh with the hope of initiating peace talks and this act of his followed by a few words convinces Rao Ramesh in giving peace a try. 

Another scene is where he juxtaposes two stories in the village and goes on a monologue of what ails the region. There can’t be more said without revealing the story. 

******

Casting for the movie is apt. There is no hero in Telugu Film Industry who could’ve played the role as convincingly as NTR does. He is amazing in bringing forth anger, love, respect, sadness and longing. He gives the director what he wants with every single shot. No hero, bar Nani, to an extent, has spoken the Rayalseema dialect so well. Putta Penchal Das is the man behind it and deservingly gets the credit. NTR oscillates between the accents effortlessly and the close-up shots aid in accentuating the scene. The camera was in love with him and it shows. 

Pooja Hegde acts well within the limitations of her character. She gets a lot of credit for change in NTR. Her role has been designed in a way where she acts as an extension for NTR’s grandmother’s thought process. Jejamma, Amma and Aravinda shape NTR. The way he respects women, the way he behaves with them and the way he is influenced by them. There is a dialogue towards the end of the movie where NTR says “Paalu icche amma ki paalinchadam oka lekka.”

Jagapathi Babu induces fear. The scene where he asks Brahmaji if he is more scared of him or NTR is amazing and showcases the acting abilities of both the actors. 

Supriya Pathak, Devyani, Sithara, Sunil, Eesha Rebba, Naresh do well in their roles. Naresh’s family and Sunil provide the comic relief in the movie. 

Thaman does well with the Background music as always and helps in conveying the mood well. 

The cinematographer also does a good job especially in aerial shots. 

Trivikram, after a couple of uncharacteristic efforts, is back to form. The dialogues flow and they cause required effect. It probably helped him no end that he had NTR to utter the dialogues. Both gave their best to each other and don’t disappoint. 

Verdict: Outlook makes a difference and women shape it. In life as well as in the movie. Worth your time 

 

Image courtesy: 123telugu.com

 

Goodachari movie review

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I have always been fascinated with the line coined by Aristotle, ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ While it seems pretty simple, it is tough to see it being executed. When we put it to work where teams are involved, this is nigh impossible. 

In a team structure, one needs to repose a lot of faith in the person drawing up the plans and adhere to what seems a cliche – Together, everyone achieves more. Well, if you didn’t notice it, that’s an acronym for Team. 

Sesh Adivi’s team seems to believe in him. Believe that he can give his best, believe that they can give their best for him and believe that their best is being used for something better. When we see the movies, we conclude that somewhere the director and the writer’s vision for the movie was the same. In an industry, where first-acts are not rare, going one up on the first-act is a rarity. Sesh Adivi has just done that. 

While Kshanam is not exactly a first-act for him, it is , a first-act, for the vision and the kind of movies being made with him at the helm. 

After a few days of the teaser launch, there were rumours floating around that the movie was a copy of Aiyyary. Well, if not entirely, I did buy into the speculation. That’s because we are not used to movies revolving around espionage in Telugu. The cynical movie-goer would scoff at such movies because that’s not how movies are made here and if such movies are made, it has to have some star value attached to it so that it can get noticed. 

One of the reasons why the movie got noticed is because of the way Kshanam was made. It wasn’t pathbreaking, but it wasn’t routine. So, there were things expected out of the follow-up movie of Sesh Adivi and he doesn’t disappoint. 

For an industry that has an insatiable appetite for ‘twists’ this movie just doesn’t whet the appetite but it serves as an aphrodisiac. As we all know from the teaser, this is a movie about a guy wanting to emulate his father. While that’s the central theme of the plot, there are many sub-plots woven around the central theme. 

The movie is a planning success, right down to the naming of the agency that the hero’s father worked in and one the hero gets into – Trinetra (meaning the third eye). Till the hero gets into the intelligence agency, the proceedings seem tepid, but picks pace rapidly after that. 

Abburi Ravi’s dialogues help the movie a lot. The word play around ‘Balam’ and ‘Balahinatha’ is superb. It nearly gives out the plot but you don’t realise it at that point. It is reiterated when we revisit that scene towards the end. The interaction between Sobhita Dhulipala and Sesh Adivi where the former suggests that many people think that attaining the goal is the end of it, but excelling at it has to be the major motive. While it does seem cliche as I write it, there could be perhaps no better dialogue for that scene. Double-meaning dialogues, at two instances, slip in as well, but that doesn’t mar the proceedings.

The plot is a sure winner when it makes you speculate about the identity of the culprit, makes you think you are right and makes a fool out of you right at the end. It means the movie kept you involved. 

Vennela Kishore, Sobhita Dhulipala, Supriya Yarlagadda, Prakash Raj play their parts well. 

Another hero of the movie is the music director, Sricharan Pakala. He adds to the gripping proceedings with the background music. Both the songs in the movie are good. Both of them are ear worms. 

Because the movie was shot before April, am sure that the makers would’ve missed the change of name of Chittagong. It’s called Chattogram now. There you go, I can dig for faults you see! 

Verdict: A movie with ‘See me’ written all over it 

 

Image courtesy: indiaglitz.com

Rangasthalam movie review

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Sukumar schmaltzes through his movies. The highbrowed themes in his movies don’t appeal to many. While his fans consider his movies akin to Jesus walking on water, detractors think otherwise. 

The above lines might not make sense to many people because they are like Sukumar’s films: they need to be explained to make sense to people. Probably, in his introspection, he did realise this as he changed his tack. 

***** 

When Rangasthalam’s working poster came out it was obvious that it was a period movie set in 1980’s. As time wore on, we came to know that the movie was set in one of the Godavari districts. 

The movie begins with a shot of Ram Charan furiously cycling away and being late in saving Prakash Raj from an accident. While Prakash Raj slips into a coma, Ram Charan religiously attends to his needs even though Prakash Raj’s family gives up on him. 

The movie slips into a flashback mode after that. We are introduced to a village called Rangasthalam on the banks of river Godavari. In the initial scenes, we see nothing that one would associate with a typical Sukumar movie. He is bang-on with the milieu and the actors that form the second rung: I say, actors that form the second rung because these people get no more than a couple of scenes. These actors nail the accent and the dressing. 

Ram Charan’s character is introduced to us as one with a hearing impediment. As happens with the movies with stars in it, they usually have some other power to nullify their handicaps. So, he has the power to lip read, although it comes with some effort and time. This ability is what leads us to the unfolding of the final twist. The fact that Sukumar nailed the milieu comes forth once again in the way Ram Charan’s character, Chitti Babu, introduces himself to Samantha’s character. 

Their village is ruled by a tyrant (Jagapathi Babu). He is elected to the post of president, unopposed, for 30 years. A few deaths in the village, passed off as suicides, are actually murders ordered for by the president. He has the society of his village indulging in malpractice so that he can accumulate the money given by the schemes of the government. 

Aadi, a Dubai return, playing Ram Charan’s elder brother, sees the injustice meted out to the villagers and decides to stand for them by filing nomination for the post of president. Samantha proves to be the fodder that combusts him. Anasuya plays a character that serves no purpose to the movie in general. Someone had to keep the glamour oozing when the heroine plays a deglamorised role, no? Also, she serves the purpose for being the butt of some entendre in the movie.  

*****

There are a couple of scenes that must have given the director the emotional high. It doesn’t quite have the effect because the movie seems unnecessarily prolonged. So, though these scenes give you the emotional high, it leaves you with the feeling of, ‘One swallow doesn’t a summer make’ 

The two scenes as I mentioned give emotional high because of the situations surrounding it. The first happens to be the scene where a person saved by Ram Charan asks him how did he know he was going to commit suicide even though he couldn’t hear what was told? Ram Charan says that though he can’t hear him, he could see the tears in his eyes that told him something was wrong. That scene told us that while Ram Charan was deaf to the sufferings of the people, he wasn’t blind to their sufferings. Another scene was where he rips into one of the henchmen of President while there is a Harikatha going on in the background. The fact that it doesn’t stop when Ram Charan is laying it into him was nice and allows us to understand. 

Instead Sukumar delves on how people don’t know the name of the president and shows up it as a twist when the brothers call the president by name. 

I don’t know the shooting sequence of the songs or the scenes, but I would like to believe that Ram Charan began by trusting the director and as the movie went on , he also bought into his character as the director wanted him to. I say so because in some of the scenes we have Ram Charan appearing with Sandals et al and as the movie wears on, we see him without the sandals in many scenes. You hear that this is a career best performance by Ram Charan. That, I feel is a disservice to him. If anything, one can call it as a career defining performance. The word ‘career best’ is bandied about too often these days and is suffering in the same way as ‘good and great’ in sports. 

Ram Charan acted in a movie called Orange. I felt that the movie could’ve done without the final 15 minutes. In the same way, I feel that this movie could’ve done without the issue that’s revealed in the twist. It gives raise to feeling of an incomplete movie rather than one closes all the threads. That thread is touched upon in one of the early conversations that Samantha has with Ram Charan when she asks him, “Meeru Evitlu” (What are you?)

I felt the best performance in the movie was by Samantha. She zeroes in on her expressions bit and may go a long way in undoing her expressions from SVSC. She’s a character that deserved a lot more screen time considering the length of the movie. 

Aadhi, Anasuya, Rohini, Jagapathi Babu, Prakash Raj and Brahmaji do what’s expected of them. 

DSP has a tough job on the music front, because his BGM is racy when the movie is not and yet, he makes it look apt. More than the songs, he deserves a pat on the back for the Background music. 

The cinematography is good and does a good job of showing the surroundings of the village. 

There is a fight in the bushes which serves as an indicator of how the movie could’ve been. When Ram Charan is brutalising the people that come to murder his brother, I never felt anywhere near the same feeling as the one when Karthi is brutalising the villains in Naa Peru Surya. There is gore in both the scenes, but only in one of the movies does it come across as gore. It’s an indicator of emotional investment. I couldn’t do it. Hope others can. 

*****

Verdict: Not a path-breaking or career-turning movie as some would have you believe. It’s going to be on Amazon Prime. You can take breaks while watching it as well

 

Image courtesy : idlebrain.com

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